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Discussion: Definition of "moderate speed" of a pitch

Posted Discussion
Sept. 7, 2023
16 posts
Definition of "moderate speed" of a pitch
Section 6.6, Legal Delivery, paragraph G. states: "The pitch shall be released at a moderate speed. The speed is left up to the judgment of the umpire. The umpire shall warn a pitcher who delivers a pitch with excessive speed...." I umpire in a local rec league, and the topic of what exactly is "moderate or excessive speed" has come up repeatedly. We have several pitchers in our league that move from the front of the pitching box to the rear of the box after they have two strikes on a batter. In order to reach the strike mat from the rear of the box, it generally requires either a much higher arc (probably over the 12" maximum height) on the pitch or increased pace in order to reach the strike mat. Can some of the more senior umpires provide us with your definition of moderate or excessive speed. Thanks in advance for your input.
Sept. 7, 2023
Men's 75
594 posts
I'm thinking what would be considered a pitch that is too fast originated from close to the 50' pitching rubber and only reaches 6' high. Most of those type 0f pitches probably only reach the front of the plate.
Sept. 7, 2023
Uncle Mike
Men's 60
122 posts
Speed usually doesn't come up in my past discussions that I have had with umpires. I have been coaching for over 13 years in SSUSA. When I ask about the speed of a pitch, they tell me it's a legal pitch for the speed or height of the ball "as long as the pitch has a hump on it". This has come up in local, regional, and World SSUSA tournaments.
I live in Southern California, and we are amazed when the umpires allow 5' fastballs because they had a hump on them. Happens all of the time
Sept. 7, 2023
Men's 65
487 posts
The question posed by BillC48 is a good one. Since the pitching distance option has increased the speed of the pitched ball can also increase allowing a good pitcher to impact the game with a bigger verity of pitching e.g. a good curve ball can be very effective with the 1/1 count.
Sept. 7, 2023
1102 posts
if the pitcher is within the 6' to 12' range it's almost impossible to deliver a pitch with excessive speed even from the full 12' depth allowed in the pitchers box... the only way to describe what is allowed for speed is an old DD saying.. "I'll know it when I see it"
Sept. 7, 2023
Men's 60
342 posts
Bill, I agree with BJ. As an umpire AND a pitcher, it's not easy to do. I have seen (and have thrown) these "fastballs" which if the batter doesn't swing would probably hit the umpire if my catcher didn't get in the way! I will add that I know it's a ball, the umpire knows it's a ball but I am HOPING the batter doesn't? LOL

Another thing I will add, throwing from 60 ft I tend to get a LOT more illegal calls as that extra 10 ft gives most umpires a little extra time to make that decision. Yes I have to throw it a little harder to get it there from 60 but in order for the pitch to come down on the mat, it honestly can't have too much speed.

Also agree about the "hump" UM, have heard that MANY times but as I am close to 6 ft tall, as an umpire if I have to look down, ball is not high enough, hump or not!

Can't believe guys are actually throwing curve balls in slow pitch softball EV. ;-)

Good luck to all in Vegas!
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