My Answer …

See “Commitment Line” rule 8.8 in SSUSA 2017 – 2018 Rule Book

A commitment line thirty feet (20 feet in our league… see State rule 1.8.1) from the scoring line or scoring plate will be used. Once a runner’s foot touches the ground on or past this line, the runner is committed to advancing to the scoring line or scoring plate and may no longer be tagged out. EFFECT: Tag of the runner by a defensive player will not be allowed. The runner will be called safe, play remains live and the runner is not required to touch the scoring plate or cross the scoring line. NOTE: If a runner re-crosses the commitment line for any reason in an attempt to return to third base he will be declared out and the ball remains live.

Crossing the Commitment Line

A runner advancing from 3rd base that has not crossed the commitment line can return to 3rd base and to be put out must be tagged out. If the base runner crosses the commitment line they must continue on to the scoring plate, no return to 3rd base is allowed, runner would be out. The catcher with the ball in possession must tag the home strike plate to put the runner out.

What is the call if the catcher forgets and tags the runner that has crossed the commitment line, then remembers, oops, and runs and tags the home strike plate before the runner touches the scoring plate? Is the runner out or safe? Does the run count? Is the ball dead or live?

Stepping out of the batter’s box

Umpire G’s calling the batter out for stepping out of the batter’s box when hitting a foul ball was questioned by most involved with a game recently. His call was absolutely correct: SSUSA Rule 7.3 A. clearly confirms Umpire G’s call. I still question how a right handed batter standing deep in the batter’s box that hits a foul ball down the right field base line can land his foot completely outside the batter’s box but that’s a judgement call and the umpire is always correct!

Tournament Sandbaggers

It seems every season you hear of some sort of situation where a team could be accused of “sandbagging”. 2016 State Tournament was no exception. In the “C” bracket the winning team was an “A” bracket team until players stopped coming to their league games resulting in several forfeited games. All these forfeited games translate to league game losses, moving them down from “A” to “C”. Both Maui teams game them good games but it seems there needs to be a better way to balance the teams in the tournament brackets.

Does anyone know if there is a limit to the number of games you can forfeit and still participate in the State Tournament? Let me know. and send me a note if anything senior softball strikes your fancy!

Base Path Collisions

As you all know the base runner can run up to 3 feet on either side of the base to avoid a collision with a defender. Personally, I believe this rule creates more collisions then it avoids but never the less the rule stands that if there is a collision the base runner is at fault and is out even if the defender moves into the runners path, whether intentionally or slyly-unintentionally.

Here was our situation … Ka Newa vs Po’okela, score is tied, top of the 7th, 1 out, runners at 1st and 3rd. The batter hits a line drive single to right field. Runner at 3rd scores, or thinks he scored, but the runner at first, as he approaches 2nd base, comes close(our story) to the 2nd baseman as the defender, facing right field, on the right field side of the base, his momentum as he goes to catch the throw from the outfielder, carries him backward in the direction of the path of the base runner. The base runner puts his hands up to his chest, palms out, to brace himself and the defender in the event of a collision. The runner claims absolutely no contact was made. The defender said nothing and the base umpire, standing right there, made no call indicating a collision. The coach of Po’okela stops the game and claims that there was contact and therefore the runner should be out and the runner that scored should return to 3rd base.

Now, because of the protest the base umpire is somehow convince that there was a collision, of sufficient magnitude that the runner should be called out and the score negated … imagine that. So the non-call was overturned, the runner going from 1st to 2nd was called out, the runner that scored was returned to 3rd and to make things worse, he was a courtesy runner that was supposed to be the next batter so he was declared out and our offensive half of the inning was over!

The question though remains … What constitutes a collision?

I’ve seen the plate umpire we had for this game, in a previous game, call “Incidental Contact” and therefore not a collision on contact at 3rd base that took the player to the ground, again, no infraction. Now in this case, if any contact occurred it was so minor and insignificant that no one is even sure it occurred, and the base runner swears there was none, and though I’m biased a bit, I totally believe him.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Rules & Calls

Infield Fly Rule …

Runners on 1st and 2nd or bases loaded and less than 2 outs, Batter is out if a fly ball is where an infielder can catch it with reasonable effort. Umpires calls Infield Fly if Fair, Batter is OUT! Runners can advance at their own risk.

Question 1:

1. Is it an infield fly if the umpire fails to declare in flight that the batter’s hit is an Infield Fly?



1. Yes, it can be … but we’ve all seen this happened and the umpire’s call will often be that the ball hit was not an infield fly … “Judgement Call”!! WHAT??? The umpire is always correct!!


1.41 • INFIELD FLY pg 7,8

A fair fly ball (not including a line drive) that can be caught by any fielder with ordinary effort when first and second bases or first, second and third bases are occupied with less than two outs. Any fielder can catch an infield fly.

NOTE: When it becomes apparent that a batted ball will be an infield fly, the umpire shall immediately declare, “infield fly – batter
is out”, to aid the runners. If the ball is near the foul lines, the umpire shall declare, “infield fly – if fair”. The ball is live and runners may advance at the risk of the ball being caught, or re-touch and advance after a fielder touches the ball. If the hit ball becomes a foul ball, it is treated the same as any other foul ball. Failure of the umpire to call “infield fly,” does not negate the infield fly. If the error is discovered prior to the next pitch, the infield fly rule may still be called.

******** End of Rulebook Quote ********

Question 2:

What if the infielder is playing deep infield or shallow outfield, is the Infield Fly declaration to be based on where they would typically play or where they are actually standing?



The declaration should be based on the location the infielder is standing. If the short stop is playing deep infield, say out 5 yards out onto the outfield grass and the pop up is hit on the infield grass the SS would have to make “extraordinary effort” to catch the fly ball. The intent of the rule is to prevent the base runners from double play entrapment and if you have to make a diving catch it’s unlikely that you could turn it into a double play. If the defense can turn it into a double play then it probably should have been decared an Infield Fly!

Interesting too:

Is that an outfielder playing close behind the infielders are also to be considered in the infield fly declaration.


What do you think?? Have any other Senior Softball rules questions, thoughts or ideas, post them here …