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Penalty for Illegal Substitution?

May 30, 2013
Binghamton, NY
apparently, a local HS team has essentially been running TWO DP/FLEX in their games all season.
Caught by the opposing team in the last game of the regular season schedule.
(but verified it also occurred in previous games by analyzing Gamechanger plays, and live game video).
The umpires imposed no penalty during the game it was brought to their attention.
I'm pretty sure the Umps made the offending team correct the situation by inserting the "legal" player in the field,
or to record the substitution at the time the rules violation was brought to their attention,
but no further penalty was imposed.

In a nutshell:
1. Lineup indicated DP/FLEX.
2. The declared DP/FLEX was used properly.
3. FLEX played in the field every inning, and did not bat. DP batted each time her slot came up in the lineup and may have played the field at various times during the game.
4. Batting order was followed according to the lineup card.
5. A Bench Player played the field every inning for a different Batter in the Lineup who was not DP.
6. This Bench Player never batted.
7. This substitution was never reported.

From a Scorer's standpoint, most don't really verify jersey numbers in the field.
Unreported substitutions are more commonly detected when a team is batting (lineup card discrepancies).
But when that unreported substitution only happens on defense, and the correct batter hits in the correct slot in the lineup,
this is much more difficult to notice.

Question: What is the proper penalty for this violation?
Last edited:
Jan 27, 2019
It would probably be handled like an unreported sub. If the player has never been officially in the game and it eligible to sub for a starter or another sub, her presence in the game is legal but unreported. A warning is issued to the player and head coach. Any subsequent violations result in restriction to the bench for the coach and sub. That is per NFHS.
Aug 20, 2017
Steven is correct. Coaches need to know that if you bat a sub for a player currently in the lineup and fail to report the sub to the umpire it’s an reported sub. Same situation as above. Not batting out of order which would result in batter being called out if they reach base
Jul 22, 2015
We had a similar situation arise in a HS game. F3 was pinch hit for, then re-entered the game in the field without being reported. A junior college coach I know was present and he wasn't certain, but thought that if she made any play on a ball that there was a base award made to the offensive team. Does anyone know if such a penalty exists?
Jan 27, 2019
Not for an unreported sub, which is what you have in your scenario. She is legally allowed to re-enter in that same position. She has not reported so it's the warning for the first offense, restrictions for subsequent.

If she is an illegal sub, re-enters for after being removed for the second time for example:
If she touches/handles the ball and an out is recorded the offense has the option to take the play or have the play nullified, no outs and all runners return to the base occupied at the time of the pitch (must be brought to the umpire's attention prior to the next pitch)
If she is reported and did not touch the ball during the previous play then the play stands
In all scenarios the player is removed from the game and restricted to the bench

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