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Thread: catcher obstruction

  1. #1
    Certified softball maniac corlay's Avatar
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    Default catcher obstruction

    wondering about the fine line of making a catcher obstruction call on a baserunner attempting to score.
    This is NY High School ruleset.

    I know a fielder may not block the basepath *until* they are in possession of the ball.

    But what constitutes blocking that path?

    Example: may the Catcher position herself straddling the baseline, to the 3B side of home plate? Does the runner have a "clear path" between the Catcher's legs? Or would this still constitute obstruction?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    I can talk softball all day KCPhoto's Avatar
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    Straddling the plate should not be obstruction, runner has access. But, I consider that a bad setup to get the out. First, if the throw is quite late or doesn't come, runner isn't going to slide and catcher has to be ready to step off the plate. I like for the catcher to set up just forward of the runner's base path on the 3rd base side of home. She receives the throw then lowers her shin guard into the base path while swiping back to make the tag. Don't let her reach forward to receive the throw, let the throw come all the way in.

    Catcher is blocking the path if gets between the runner and the plate. She doesn't have to give a run through the plate path, but she doesn't want to get run over either.

  3. #3
    Certified softball maniac corlay's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KCPhoto View Post
    But, I consider that a bad setup to get the out.
    I agree that this setup is not ideal, but was describing a play as it happened this past weekend.
    Was curious if allowing space between the catcher's legs was enough to eliminate an obstruction call, or not.

    Here's a timely pic of the exact play, as it happened:


    Thanks.

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    I can talk softball all day Elk Grove Hurricane's Avatar
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    I'd say she obstructed based on that photo. Now I want to see what the people who really know the rules will say.

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    Always learning... Eric F's Avatar
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    Default

    In all rule sets, except NCAA...There is no obstruction until obstruction actually occurs. A defensive player can be anywhere they want before they have possession of the ball until the point in time where the progress of the runner is impeded.

    As for catcher setup, I like the catcher's left foot just on the 3B side of the corner of the plate, with her toes and her chest facing the runner. On a throw coming from the right side of the field, catch the ball across the body, and maintain the foot and chest orientation towards the runner. Turning to the ball thrown from the right side exposes the side of the knee, which is much more vulnerable.

    This is my DD forgetting that lesson, and paying the price for it...https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=SZhjAwsJGJk

    Obstruction was also called on this play.
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    Checking out the clubhouse Laphoneman's Avatar
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    Yea I’ve been wanting to know this also our coach teaches straddle the plate and make the runner slide. That’s only if there’s a play at the plate.

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    Softball Junkie Ajaywill's Avatar
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    Outside of NCAA rules, there are TWO things that have to happen in order to have obstruction.

    1. The defensive player does not have the ball
    2. The base runner is impeded or hindered by the defensive player

    Basically, this means that the defensive player can set up anywhere she wants to. Obstruction doesn't happen until the runner is affected by the defensive player without the ball.
    Also - the defensive player providing a "clear path" to the base means nothing. The runner has the right of way to choose her own path, and not have to take the path "provided" by the defense.

    As for the pic in post #3, all I can say is that obstruction is a possibility on this play. It's very difficult to make that ruling from a still pic that captures a split second in time. In order to make a definitive ruling, you need to see the the entire play.

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    I can talk softball all day Big Daddy Michigan's Avatar
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    Obstruction is called when the runner has to deviate from HER path because of a fielder without the ball. The catcher can't dictate the base runner's path to be through her legs by straddling the plate. Using that logic, every time a batter hit a ball in the outfield you could set up all your infielders between the bases with their legs spread and force the runners to crawl under.

    If the runner choses to run around the catcher rather than go through her legs it's obstruction.

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  11. #9
    I can talk softball all day KCPhoto's Avatar
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    What I don't like about "it's not obstruction until it happens" is it makes you coach your runners into being actors. If you teach them to throw their hands in the air and start yelling "Where's the base, she's in the way?" you will get an obstruction call. If you don't and run the bases hard and hit the defender, you can get thrown out of the game for UC.

    I'm probably the only person that likes the NCAA rule that get's the obstruction call if you set up in the runner's base path.

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    Certified softball maniac marriard's Avatar
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    This weekend we were at a showcase where EVERYTHING was obstruction. As far as a I could tell there was no safe place to field a thrown ball. The umpires were being evaluated through the event - they had a clinic alongside the showcase so we doing a lot of 3-man and even had umpire evaluators and coaches on the field. Man they were over officious, over technical and the strike zone disappeared as they had extra eyes on them every game. It kind of sucked for all involved.
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