Softball rule 7.08

  • Batter hits the ball, rounds first and now on her way to second but before she reaches second the pitcher gets the ball in the circle. As the girl hits second she over runs second as the ball is already in the pitchers hand in the circle and she's not attempting to make a play. Is the girl on second out?

    I know a girl must either immediately advance or return to a base if the girl is off it as the ball gets in the circle but not sure what happens if a girl either overruns or "turns & looks" at second and third with the ball already in the circle.

    Thanks for any help in better understanding this rule.



    Like this post to subscribe to the topic.
  • Jeremy, the pitcher cannot freeze a runner by having possession of the ball in the circle. The runner may continue to run all the way around to home if she chooses.

    What 7.08a5 requires is that once a runner stops between bases, she has to immediately continue to the next base or return to the previous base. "Immediately" is not the same as "instantaneously". Umpires should give the runner a moment to decide which way she wants to go. I usually give a "one Mississippi" count before I call Time and rule the runner out.

    Also, once the runner makes that decision to advance or return after stopping, she cannot change her mind and go in the opposite direction. She has to commit to one of the bases and continue until she reaches it.

    Of course, that all goes away should the pitcher attempt to make a play on her.

  • Manny is correct.

    In your situation the runner would not be out as long as she returned to second OR continued to advance to third.

    If she just "stood there" she would be called out.

  • So the key to getting this call right is the runner stopping?

    It makes no diffrence if when the ball is already in the circle she turns the bag with three steps or 20....all that matters is what comes after the point she stops. So the ball in the circle doesn't kill a play, the runner is who kills the play.

  • Jeremy,

    So the key to getting this call right is the runner stopping? YES, when the runner has stopped

    It makes no diffrence if when the ball is already in the circle she turns the bag with three steps or 20....all that matters is what comes after the point she stops. YES

    So the ball in the circle doesn't kill a play, the runner is who kills the play. A combination of the Pitcher having the ball in the circle and NOT making a play and the runner stopping.......

    This is a rule that's hard to describe in writing sometimes.

    Had a crazy play the other night.....The 3rdbaseman had the ball in the circle. The runner on 3rd ran home. The 3rd baseman had this "goofy" look on her face, "the runner can't go home, the ball's in the circle".....Wrong...the pitcher didn't have the ball in the circle, so the runner was free to continue after stopping.....

  • Is this covered anywhere else in the rule book? They don't use the word stop in the book.

    7.08 -Any runner is out when-

    (5) Note 2: If the pitcher has possession of the ball within the pitcher's circle, and is not making a play, runners not in contact with their base must immediately attemp to advance or return to base.

    So to me it reads that stopping isn't the key, if the ball is in the circle and the runner overruns second by 10+ steps after the ball was in the circle she isn't immediately retuning, at some point the ump has to make a judgment the runner has committed to third and can no longer go back to second. To me there would be a diffrence in three and 20 steps when overrunning a bag.

  • Jeremy, there is nothing in the rule about committing to a base. Nothing precludes a runner from taking a huge lead and, when the ball is returned to the circle, she takes a couple more steps to the base, stops, and then immediately returns to her previous base.

    Suppose a runner from first base attempts a steal of second, and the batter hits a line drive right back to the pitcher. When the pitcher catches the ball in the circle, the runner is more than halfway to second base. What you're suggesting is that the defense doesn't have to appeal that the runner left first base too soon on the catch. You're proposing the moment she has committed to second by being so far from first base, she can't return, and if she tries to, she's out even without the appeal being made.

    That's not what 7.08a5 says.

  • Little League needs to word the Look Back Rule/Circle Rule better...ASA goes into better detail and so does LL Make the Right Call book.

    I just did a google search and found a bunch of other threads on this topic with people interpreting the rule a bunch of different ways.

  • FWIW, here are the Instructor Comments in the LL Rules Instruction Manual:

    => If the runner(s) is off a base when the pitcher has the ball within the eight-foot circle, the runner(s) may continue around the bases. Having the ball within the circle does NOT stop the runner(s).

    => 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. The runner has a choice. When this choice is made, if the runner stops again before reaching the base, she shall be called out.

    => 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.

    => The responsibility for the runners to advance or return is removed if the pitcher attempts a play on a runner. In Softball, a fake throw by the pitcher, from the eight-foot circle, IS considered an attempted play for the interpretation of the circle rule.

  • ^^Thanks

  • Is that a different book than Make The Right Call, The Case Book of Little League Baseball and Softball 2013....?

  • Yes - The Little League Rules Instruction Manual (LLRIM) is a compilation of the LL Rule Book, The Right Call and Instructor Comments from the Little League Umpire Schools.

  • I guess I need to get one.

  • I hope someone is still monitoring this post, I see it is two years old. This 7.08(a)5 NOTE 2 is confusing to me as someone who has called many baseball games but is new this year to softball. What I'm seeing are runners getting a lead after the pitch, stopping when the catcher receives the ball and checks them. The catcher returns the ball to the pitcher who is in the circle and the runner just stands there. The pitcher and runner are staring at each other for a moment until the base coach send the runner back. It looks to me as thought the runner is attempting to draw a throw here. My question is how long may the runner stand in place before I should call time and call her out? I noticed above someone said a count of "one Mississippi", is that a good rule to follow? I've been hesitant to call this but do feel that the runners doing this are violating the rule.

  • It's your judgment of what the word immediately means.....In the past two years since I made this post my league now plays by the rule right, parents still don't understand it and cry foul when it's called but now we don't look stupid come tournament play.

  • Thanks Jeremy. I don't want to call this tot quickly, but can't allow runners to ignore the rule.