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First Baseman in the pitching circle

In a passed ball or wild pitch situation when the pitcher comes out of the circle to cover home, I have seen games where the first baseman came into the circle to receive the ball from the catcher or pitcher when there was a runner on third. She then "safely" passes the ball to the pitcher when she gets in the circle. Does the first baseman's possession of the ball in the circle have the same effect as the pitcher having possession of the ball in the circle (ie. is it no longer a "live" ball)? A quick look at USSSA and ASA rules refers to the pitcher having the ball in the circle, thus it kind of made me question the strategy. I did witness one umpire state that only the pitcher can be in the circle. Can someone set me straight? Thanks!
 
Jun 24, 2013
1,059
36
It is only with the pitcher that the look back rule takes effect.

They might just be trying to get the ball in the middle of the field. It is like the 1st basemen having the ball anywhere else on the field, that she is in the circle does not matter at all.

(ASA, assume it is the same for other rule sets)
 
Last edited:
Jun 22, 2008
3,380
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Ball in posession of anyone other than the pitcher in the circle means nothing. Yes some do it simply to have the ball in the middle of the infield to cut down throwing distances, but Im sure there are plenty of coaches who erroneously believe the ball just has to be in the circle.

Did a game a few years back where one team constantly threw the ball back to F3 in the circle. When the pitcher did return to the circle, F3 would still have the ball while she did some handshake deal with the pitcher. At one point without calling time the whole infield gathered in the circle with F2 in posession of the ball and a runner standing on 3rd base. I was waiting for the runner to make a break for home but apparently they also were ones that believed the ball merely had to be in the circle.

Also, the ball is pretty much always "live" in softball. The pitcher having the ball in the circle just turns on the lookback rule, it does not stop playing action. Any runners who are in motion when the ball does go in the circle with the pitcher are free to continue to run.
 
Last edited:
Jul 24, 2013
19
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What could be happening is the 1st baseman is backing up the throw from the catcher to the pitcher. It seems odd that she would be in the circle. That is not the best place to be when backing up that play at the plate. Usually, I'd like our first baseman to be half way between the circle and home.
 
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