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Discussion: the catch rule??

Posted Discussion
Dec. 6, 2020
7 posts
the catch rule??
I had this in a recent game, the batter hits a ground ball to the SS who makes a throw that is low and in the dirt. The 1st baseman tries to scoop it up but the ball rolls up his arm and he ends up catching it in his arm pit. The runner was slow and the 1st baseman had time to reach over and grab the ball with his bare hand before the runner reached 1st. I called the runner out. The Mgr. compalined that it was an illegal catch since he didn't actually catch the ball with his glove or his bare hand. I stuck with my call and it didn't make a difference in the game. After the game the Mgr. showed me the rule and now I don't know if I made the correct call? I posted the end of rule 1.10 below and I guess per the rule the Mgr. was right, he actually ended up catching it with his arm pit and then showed control when he reached across and grabbed it? What if an OF slides to catch a fly ball and catches it in his stomach area then grasps it, is that an out?

I looked up the ASA rule and they give an expalnation of what a fielder has to do to make a legal catch, that rule is also below. SSUSA's rule just tells you that it's an illegal catch?

An illegally caught ball occurs when a fielder catches a batted or thrown ball with anything other than his hand(s) or glove in its proper place

A. A catch is a legally caught ball, which occurs when the fielder catches a batted, pitched or thrown ball with the hand(s) or glove/mitt.
1. To establish a valid catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove control of it and/or that the release of the ball is voluntary.
2. If the ball is merely held in the fielder’s arm(s) or prevented from dropping to the ground by some part of the fielder’s body, equipment or clothing, the catch is not completed until the ball is in the grasp of the fielder’s hand(s) or glove.
Dec. 6, 2020
12 posts
Good call. It's a catch. If the runner had reached 1st before he held it in his hand or glove, not an out. He didn't actually 'catch' it until he held it in his hand.
Dec. 7, 2020
1082 posts
alan23.. I've also got an out.. once the fielder showed control with his hand.. I also think SSUSA's rule should be amended and add the part from ASA that states... the catch is not completed until the ball is in the grasp of the fielder’s hand(s) or glove. this makes the rule so much clearer
Dec. 7, 2020
Wayne 37
Men's 65
773 posts
Yes, having control of the ball is key and it will be in the umpire's judgment as to if he has control or not. The rule below specifically mentions the ball may be touching the ground in his glove. If the ball can touch a glove and the ground and it is okay, then the hand and ground are okay as well. Again, the key is that the fielder has control of the ball and is not just simply trapping the ball against the ground.

This explains it better than softball rulebooks

NFHS Rule 2-9-1

2-9-1 A catch is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a live ball in flight and firmly holding it, provided he does not use his cap, protector, mask, pocket, or another part of his uniform to trap the ball. The catch of a fly ball by a fielder is not completed until the continuing action of the catch is completed. A fielder who catches a ball and then runs into a wall or another player and drops the ball has not made a catch. A fielder, at full speed, who catches a ball and whose initial momentum carries him several more yards after which the ball drops from his glove has not made a catch. When the fielder, by his action of stopping, removing the ball from his glove, etc., signifies the initial action is completed and then drops the ball, will be judged to have made the catch. The same definition of a catch would apply when making a double play. It is considered a catch if a fielder catches a fair or foul ball and then steps or falls into a bench, dugout, stand, bleacher or over any boundary or barrier, such as a fence, rope, chalk line, or a pregame determined imaginary boundary line from the field of play. Falling into does not include merely running against such an object. (See 2-24-4 for fielder juggling ball and 8-4-1c for an intentionally dropped ball; 2-16-2 and 5-1-1d for ball striking catcher before touching his glove.) It is not a catch when a fielder touches a batted ball in flight which then contacts a member of the offensive team or an umpire and is then caught by a defensive player.

NOTE: When a batted ball or a pitch is involved, the above definition of a catch applies. For any other thrown ball, the term is used loosely to also apply to a pick-up or to the trapping of a low throw that has touched the ground. A fielder may have the ball in his grasp even though it is touching the ground while in his glove.
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