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Thread: Pick off to first base - Need a ruling

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    Checking out the clubhouse sports0175's Avatar
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    Question Pick off to first base - Need a ruling

    We play under NFHS rules.

    We had a runner on first that took her lead after the pitcher released the ball. The catcher made a throw down to first base to pick her off. The first baseman was blocking the bag with her body and did not allow for a path for the runner to return to the bag. Our runner ran into her and was eventually tagged out. As I understand, the first baseman cannot block the base or the base path without possession of the ball. That would be a textbook definition for Obstruction, correct? The runner should have been safe in my opinion. What's the call?

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    Certified softball maniac Comp's Avatar
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    If she is blocking without posession, obstruction.

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    Super Moderator Amy in AZ.'s Avatar
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    Obstruction. I put my foot there, but that is a little less obvious than putting my whole body in there.

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    Administrator Ken Krause's Avatar
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    Good reason to go back into the base head first. It's a lot easier to reach around with your arm than your leg.

    With metal cleats you're taking an awful chance blocking the base, too. I might get caught like that once. The second time I'd be trying to draw blood.
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    MTR
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amy in AZ. View Post
    Obstruction. I put my foot there, but that is a little less obvious than putting my whole body in there.
    Well, that's still OBS. This call became easy in NFHS once they got rid of the automatic award. When that was in effect, umpires would refuse to make the OBS call at the expense of the player's well being.

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    I can talk softball all day D.G. OutLaws 16u's Avatar
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    Obstruction all the way.....

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    Softball Junkie FPMark's Avatar
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    If 1st did not have the ball when the collision happened, it's obstruction. But if she didn't, how did she catch the ball after, or even during, a collision with the runner? If your runner ran into the 1st baseman at about the same time the ball got there, and she hung on to the ball, umpire may have considered it insidental contact.

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    Softball Junkie BretMan's Avatar
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    I do run across a good number of umpires that still think a fielder can block a base and impede a runner if she is positioned to receive a throw. While that used to be the rule (and still is in NCAA, ISF and most baseball rule sets) it hasn't been allowed in NFHS or ASA for about 6-7 years now. So you can get uneven enforcement if your umpires work other sanctioning bodies that allow this, or work baseball too, or just haven't bothered to keep up-to-date on the playing rules.
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    I can talk softball all day coach D'E's Avatar
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    This "pick-off- obstruction" play happened to us a few years back. The umpire ruled obstruction at 1st base and awared our runner second base. Was this the correct call? Becuase we got the extra base, I did not complain, but I always wondered if that was the correct call.

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    Softball Junkie BretMan's Avatar
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    For most sanctioning bodies, no, that would not be correct. An obstructed runner is only awarded the base she would have reached had she not been obstructed. On this play, the obstruction call would protect the runner from being tagged out at first, but there would be no additional advanced bases awarded.

    I say "most" sanctioning bodies because there may be those out there that award an advanced base. ASA does not, nor does NFHS/high school. NSA does in some limited circumstances. That does not preclude there from being associations that might award an extra base- it's just that I'm not familiar with them.
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