INTERFERENCE/ OBSTRUCTION GUIDELINES (2-36; ,3; 8-4-3b; a) Clearly defines responsibility for contact when fielder does not initially control a batted ball Creates balance between offense and defense Puts contact into category of obstruction or interference, not “just a CRASH”
INTERFERENCE/ OBSTRUCTION GUIDELINES (2-36; ,3; 8-4-3b; a) Fielder must have opportunity to make an initial play After an initial play attempt on a fair ground ball, fielder no longer protected After attempting an initial play – fielder not permitted to obstruct advancement of runner
INTERFERENCE/ OBSTRUCTION GUIDELINES (2-36; ,3; 8-4-3b; a) Initial Play – Reasonable chance to catch or gain control of a ground ball that no other fielder (except the pitcher) has touched, OR Reasonable chance to catch the ball in flight after it touches another fielder, OR Fails to gain control of the batted ground ball and is within a step and a reach (in any direction) of the spot of the initial play
INTENTIONALLY REMOVING LINES PENALTY EXPANDED ( PENALTY) Penalty expanded to include restricting any subsequent offender, not just head coach Second and all subsequent offenses: –Strike/ball on batter –Offender and head coach restricted to dugout Change makes penalty consistent with others of a similar nature
DOUBLE FIRST BASE RULES EXPANDED (8-10) More states using double first base units Base running section expanded for clarity and understanding: –When the BR must use –Penalties for noncompliance –When the runner/fielder has choice between the two bases
DOUBLE FIRST BASE RULES EXPANDED (1-2-1 NOTE) Specifications for the double first base unit also revised: –A one- or two-piece unit permitted –Portion in foul territory required to be a color other than white
2007 NFHS SOFTBALL EDITORIAL CHANGES
CATCH DEFINITION CLARIFIED (2-9-5f) Change was made to clarify: –Trap = Ball touching ground, fielder NOT in control –Catch = Ball touching ground, fielder IN control
“CONFINES OF THE FIELD” DEFINED (2-15) Used to determine when umpire jurisdiction begins (10-1-2) –Upon arrival within “confines of the field” Term was not previously defined Important in determining responsibilities of umpiring crew
“CONFINES OF THE FIELD” DEFINED (2-15) “Confines of the field” includes: –Field of play –Designated dugout/bench areas –Any enclosed or clearly marked warm-up areas adjacent to the field and in view of the umpire(s)
MALICIOUS CONTACT PENALTY CLARIFIED (3-6-18) Malicious contact typically only thought of as committed by a runner Penalty now includes enforcement when infraction is by a fielder –Immediate dead ball, offender is out and ejected
RUNNING LANE CLARIFIED (8-2-5) Language added for clarification Consistent with other rules regarding being “in” or “out” of a space Runner is outside running lane when: –Either foot is completely outside the lane and in contact with the ground
INTENTIONAL INTERFERENCE (8-6-10d) Clarifies that any intentional interference will result in an out Previous rule only addressed interfering with a thrown ball New language includes intentionally interfering with a fielder in any way
2007 NFHS SOFTBALL POINTS OF EMPHASIS
BATTER DELAYS Pace of a game enhanced when 20-second rule enforced (7-3-1). The batter has 20 seconds to take her place in the batter’s box. Batter must be ready to step into batter’s box and take turn at bat. Coaches must be concise in giving signals. The penalty for noncompliance is a “strike” being called on the batter.
BATTER DELAYS Once in the batter’s box: Batter may request “time”, but only granted for valid reason The pitcher is entitled to deliver the pitch Putting hand up toward umpire does not guarantee time will be granted. If the batter’s hand is up, but time has not been granted, the umpire directs the pitcher to deliver the pitch. Stepping in and out of the box when the pitcher is ready is subject to a “strike” being called (Rule: 3-6-9) Requesting time to perform rituals should not be permitted
TEAM HUDDLES (Reminder) Teams are NOT allowed to huddle in front of or outside dugouts after the end of a half inning. Rationale: minimizes risks to participants keeps pace of game moving *One (1) minute between innings *Twenty (20) seconds to pitch PENALTY: Coach restricted to the dugout if he/she ignores the umpires warning.
OBSTRUCTION Obstruction requires a “clear” defensive infraction Required condition for obstruction: *A defensive player cannot block the runner’s access to a base/base path without possession of the ball *The runner must be hindered or impeded Note: If the defensive player is blocking the base without the ball and the runner has not yet been impeded, there is NO obstruction
OBSTRUCTION Obstruction, especially at first base still concerns committee Umpires ignoring and/or not properly signaling. It is NOT a wasted signal. Belief that signal is not necessary if base runner already obtained base she would have reached had there been no obstruction. It is important to communicate the infraction so teams do not continue to commit the same infraction. Use the signal and make the call!
EQUIPMENT INSPECTION Head coaches required to attend pregame meeting with umpires. Must verify players legally equipped and players/equipment in compliance with NFHS rules Umpires must still conduct pregame inspection of team’s equipment 15 minutes prior to the start of the game. If teams play more than one game in the same day and the equipment leaves the dugout, the umpires must check the equipment again prior to the start of the next game.
EQUIPMENT INSPECTION Inspection includes: –bats, batting helmets and catcher’s gear Teams should have all equipment displayed and available for inspection 15 minutes prior to start of game When teams play more than one game in the same day, and leave the dugout with their equipment, umpires must check their equipment again prior to the start of their next game.