Softball- look-back rule clarification

  • In trying to explain this to parents, I confused myself (maybe ASA rule is different than LL?):

    When the pitcher has the ball “in the circle” all play is supposed to stop.

    Baserunners return to the last base touched unless they are more than halfway, in which case they may attempt to continue (at risk of being thrown out) to the next base and stop. As soon as the Pitcher has control of the ball in the circle, a Baserunner (BR) who was taking a lead off of a base and stops has two choices- promptly return directly to the last base touched or try for the next base until they either make it or an attempt is made to get them out. When returning to the base, they cannot stop, change direction or step off the base again after returning to it, or they will be called out.

    This would indicate that when the pitcher has the ball in the circle, the BR can still choose to try for the next base(like a delayed steal) when I always expect that the BR can only return to the last base touched. When we do delayed steals, we always run as soon as the catcher throws the ball back to the pitcher, no later.



    Like this post to subscribe to the topic.
  • Well, for one, there is no such thing as "look-back rule" in LL Softball. That's a phrase that is used in virtually all other softball organizations, but not in LL.

    The LL rule is captured under 7.08(a)(5), and is pretty self-explanatory. The runner may leave her base as soon as the ball leaves the pitcher's hand (or, in Minors, when the ball reaches the batter). If the pitcher has the ball within the eight-foot circle and the runner stops while off a base, the runner must IMMEDIATELY either advance OR return. Essentially, the runner has a choice, but when she makes that choice, she has to continue. If the runner stops again before reaching the base she committed to, or reverses direction, she's out.

    Also, if the runner is on the base when the ball is returned to the pitcher within the eight-foot circle, the runner may not leave the base or will be called out.

    Your point that all play is supposed to stop when the pitcher has the ball in the circle is not correct. Once the runner(s) legally advance, they may continue to advance all the way around if they want to while the pitcher has the ball.

  • Thanks, Manny.

    On your last point- if the pitcher has the ball in the circle and the BR runs to a base and then steps off that baseto go to the next one, aren't they in violation?

    (I'm at work and brought the wrong rulebook with me)

  • Bob,

    Any runner (BR included), who was stopped on the base, while the pitcher has the ball in the circle, and then steps off the base should be called out.

    In another situation, the BR may overrun 1st base on a hit and/or a walk. Pitcher and the ball in the circle- If the BR runs through 1st base and takes a step or two into the infield, stops (looks to locate the ball)....at that point, the BR needs to decide fairly quickly to either return to 1st base or run to 2nd. If the BR stands too long off the base or starts "juking around", you would have an out.

  • Ok expand on this question, the batter/runner is walked, and begins to run to first base, the catcher quickly returns the ball to the pitcher who has control in the circle BEFORE the runner reaches first base. The runner turns at 1st then puts her head down sprints to 2nd in one motion while the pitchers back is turned. Based on rule 7.08 a(5) what is the call. I say she is out, as she has not reached 1st base yet she can only advance to the base intended once the pitcher is in the circle. This is and on going issue in our league and the depending on the umpire is how the call goes.

  • The rule is 7.08(a)(5) When a runner is off a base after a pitch or as a result of a batter completing a turn at bat, and while the pitcher has the ball within the eight (8) foot radius circle, the runner must immediately attempt to advance to the next base or return to the base the runner is entitled. NOTE 3: If the pitcher has possession of the ball within the pitcher’s circle, and is not making a play (a fake throw is considered a play), runners not in contact with their bases must immediately attempt to advance or return to base.

    The batter-runner does not have to stop on the base. Here are the possibilities with the pitcher in the circle:

    1. She can stop on the base. If she does, she must not come off till the ball is pitched

    2. She can stop after rounding first base. If she does, she must immediately make a decision to continue or return to first.

    3. She can continue and try for second

    They have to keep moving one way or another.

  • "2. She can stop after rounding first base. If she does, she must immediately make a decision to continue or return to first.

    3. She can continue and try for second"

    Where is this rule? I can find no where that says that is ok.

  • NOTE 3: If the pitcher has possession of the ball within the pitcher’s circle, and is not making a play (a fake throw is considered a play), runners not in contact with their bases must immediately attempt to advance or return to base.

    It is in 7.08(a)(5) Note that number 2 complies as does number 3. There is nothing that says a runner has to stop.

    Trust me that this is how softball sees it.

    Rita

  • Sorry that does't cut it and that is not how everyone in Softball sees it. By that assumption they could keep going to any base as long as they keep running. the rule does not comply with statements 2 and 3. If the runner has not made it to 1st base by the the time the pitcher has the ball in the circle 1st base is the advance to base not 2nd. If and only if the runner passes 1st before the pitcher has the ball in the circle then they can continue to 2nd at there owe risk. "Still under 7.08(5)(a): the runner fails to keep contact with the base to which the runner is entitled untill the ball has been released by the pitcher on delivery." On a walk the runner is only entitled to 1st base and there is no rule entitling them to be able to turn or "take a look" they can go to the base or they can run through.

  • Darryl, there is NO Little League or other softball organization (at least none I work with) rule that states a runner and/or batter-runner MUST STOP when the pitcher has the ball in the circle.

    If the pitcher has the ball in the circle, a batter-runner could run past 1st to 2nd to 3rd.......again, without stopping. Once the runner stops, they need to make a decision to advance or go back.

    "By that assumption they could keep going to any base as long as they keep running."......yep, that is correct!! So you need to find the rule that says they MUST STOP and you won't.

  • Darryl, It is what John said. Plus someone else in the other post where this is discussed gave you the Rules Instruction Manual wording that says the same thing.

    Yes they can keep running! Like John says, there is nothing that says they can't.

    Rita

  • It is how 99% of the softball people see it. Rita and John have it right.

  • I sorry I just dont see it. 7.13: When a pitcher is in the 8 foot radius circle and is possession of the ball, the base runner(s) shall not leave their base(s) until the pitched ball been released by the pitcher. Once agian a walked batter is only entitled to first base.

    There is no rule saying that it is okay release base the wiether it in one motion or otherswise. This rule in fact says they must stop or face the penalty.

  • I have been on that page as well. See I think that it does say that the runner must stop. "the runner must immediately attempt to advance to the next base or return to the base the runner is entitled" if the runner has not reached first she can only logistically advance to first. Once she reaches 1st she aquires the right to that base, If the pitcher is in the circle and she leaves that base she should be in violation of the rule.

    Does the book say "she must stop" no, but no where does it say "she must swing the bat" only says what happens if she doesnt.

  • @Darryl - Multiple EXPERIENCED people have told you that you are misinterpreting the rule and LLHQ has confirmed that in the post John Z. linked above. Not sure what else you want to convince you.

  • I want a rule that says its ok... :) not an interpretation of it. Many people get to serious for all the wrong reasons and just because it has always been that way doesnt mean that it is right. The the book is vage and ambiguous at best about this. Dont we have a obligation to look at our rules and make sure they are clear? Shouldnt any one that picks up the book know what it is trying to say? The Point of this discussion (in my mind) was to find in the book something that supported the appoved ruling and no one has yet to do that. The only explanation I have been given is "it doent say she has to stop" but it doesnt say that she can keep going either. I have given mutiple examples of why it should be an out I am just waiting for someone to site something, anything that would imply that it is ok.

    Make no mistake if that is the appoved ruling, no matter if I agree with it or not, every walk with a runner on 3rd is a guaranteed double I and will take full advantage of that rule any chance that I can.

    I will also make sure it is properly enforced, or I guess not enforced as the case maybe.

  • "Make no mistake if that is the appoved ruling, no matter if I agree with it or not, every walk with a runner on 3rd is a guaranteed double I and will take full advantage of that rule any chance that I can."

    That is the approved ruling so, as you say, you can now take advantage of it.

    That said, there are teams that do a good job of defending against this so be careful !!!

  • Darryl, hopefully you will come back to LL's FB discussions, as these are great resources. A lot of us on here know and understand Little League Baseball and Softball rules and enjoy helping a lot of folks. I believe I know a lot of the rules and how to deal with situations, but I'm always excited to learn something and/or get a better understanding in reviewing these pages.

    Reading rulebooks can be very interesting and we need to learn what they are or aren't saying.....these pages are a GREAT RESOURCE for all who are involved with Little League.

  • See I think that it does say that the runner must stop. "the runner must immediately attempt to advance to the next base or return to the base the runner is entitled"

    You are close but not quite there. You had a good question but the rule you are getting hung up on is what happens when the runner stops.

    The point that I finally got is that no rule requires the runner to stop, ever. When they do stop, what you said then applies.

    also, on the link to that other discussion, LL verifies the correct interpretation.

  • Question - runner at 3rd and batter walks - pitcher in control sand in circle - moves head quickly to look at runner but hands and glove down -,runner at 3rd leaves third base - is she out ?