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June 14, 2008
10 posts
Dear Softball Friends,

I need your help. In a local league that is governed by the SS-USA rules there was a play that, I believe was miss-called but I could not find anything that would specifically cover it in the rule book. So I am looking for your help to tell me what the rule is and where I might be able to find it in the rule book.

Here’s the situation. There was a runner on first and no outs and a one ball count on the batter.(but none of this is really important I just wanted to set up the situation as it actually occurred). The pitcher then prepared to make his next pitch. He went into his motion and as he took his step towards the plate and started his arm forward and the shortstop yelled to hold up. He yelled this because the third baseman was adjusting his belt and did not have his glove on his hand (but I guess the reason he yelled to “hold up” is not pertinent either).

The end result is that the pitcher did not release the ball. He just stopped. and started to reset for the next pitch. The important thing is that the ball never left his hand. Before starting to deliver the next pitch the umpire said that the last pitch (or no pitch) was illegal and he charged a ball to the count on the batter.

I called time and talk with the ump. I told him that I did not believe that a ball should have been charged because the pticher never released the ball. I told him that I thought it was a no pitch and not an illegal pitch. The ump disagreed and said that he thought it was an illegal pitch and not a no pitch. Needless to say the umps opinion carried the day.

We agreed to disagree and I asked the umpire to check the rule book when he got home and that I would do the same. However neither he nor I could come up with anything conclusive.

Can anyone out there help? I would appreciate it. The objective is to get it right. There are no egos involved.

Thanks, in advance.

June 14, 2008
Men's 70
31 posts
I would call it an illegal pitch based on the info you presented. SSUSA pitching rules states 6.7 (5):
The pitcher must deliver the ball toward Home Plate ON THE FIRST FORWARD SWING OF THE PITCHING ARM PAST THE HIP.

Sinch the pitch was started and not delivered it is an illegal pitch per 6.11. It does not have to be released. If the
offence called "stop", and the pitch was not delivered after the start of the pitch, I would rule "no pitch"

Also 6.11 states
Any infraction of Sections 11.3-11.14 (should be 6.3-6.11) is an illegal pitch. A ball shall be called on the batter. Runners are not advanced. EXCEP¬TION: If a batter swings at any illegal pitch, it is nullified and all play stands.
umpire delays the start of play due to substitution, conference, injuries, etc. NOTE: A pitcher returning to pitch in the same half inning will not receive warm-up pitches.

Vegas Paul
June 16, 2008
Men's 60
8 posts
With all due respect to Paul, I would say that since the pitcher did not pitch the ball that it is a no pitch.

I don’t have a rule book but I have played senior ball many years and I have “observed what I consider similar situations many times.

I have seen a pitcher start to deliver a ball and stop before releasing for many reasons. Just to name a few:

1. A ball from another field comes into the field (even if the umpire doesn’t see it).
2. A player who was just thrown out is returning to his dugout behind the catcher and it was distracting.
3. A dugout gate door is left open and the pitcher notices it.
4. A bat is in live territory and the pitcher sees it and stops because he thinks it’s dangerous.
5. A fan or person wonders on the field.
6. He stops to check the positioning of his defensive players.
7. The batter steps out of the batter’s box even though the ump did not call time.

I could probably list a hundred reason’s that I have seen.

In every case the call by the umpire was “no pitch”. So I guess I would call it a no pitch too. Its seems to me that player safety (you said the third baseman did not have his glove on his hand) is as good a reason to not pitch as any of the ones I listed above.

To me he didn’t pitch so it’s a no pitch, but like I said I don’t have a rule book. I only know what I have observed.
June 24, 2008
Men's 55
50 posts
I've got to agree with both Paul & Dusty. I remember pitching back in the old USSSA days (when I was that once the arm went past the hip the ball had to be delivered. The reason for this was to keep pitchers from doing all of the USSSA raindances trying to upset a batter's timing.
On the other hand, I have seen at least several times when a pitcher in senior ball has stopped in mid-delivery for one reason or another and have never seen an umpire rule an illegal pitch.
June 25, 2008
Men's 55
88 posts
The umpire was right in calling a ball. Once the pitcher starts his motion forward he must release the ball or it is an illegal pitch. Only an umpire can call time once the pitcher has started his windup.
June 26, 2008
328 posts
Well.....HERE'S 3 minutes of my life I'll get back.

"""He went into his motion and as he took his step towards the plate and started his arm forward and the shortstop yelled to hold up."""

Are you CERTAIN that his arm was moving FORWARD and not DOWN?

My point is that the position of his arm is a judgement call and can't be argued.

I see this all the time and some moron shouts "BALK". I've never seen an umpire anal enough to call it a ball.
June 26, 2008
64 posts
I believe the right call to be a BALL,because you can't hesitate once you start your arm movement toward home,even downward.If it was No pitch the batter would have had the option of swinging,but letting it go would be a ball...however the rules are a bit gray on that one,basically they don't want the jerking motions of Usssa,so they made the ruling...I quess
June 26, 2008
Men's 65
3146 posts
Sorry T-Rex, with a "no pitch" call the batter doesn't have the choice to take the pitch or hit it. You have it confused with "ilegal pitch".
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