BASERUNNING INTERFERENCE QUESTION – OBSTRUCTION

by Chris
(York, PA)

Game Situation

My nephew had a 10 year old AAU tournament game over the weekend and his team had runners on 1st and 2nd with one out. The batter hit a bloop single to center. While the base-runner on 2nd, running from 2nd the 3rd, the shortstop got in his way and tripped him. The base-runner got up and still made it to 3rd. By this time, the center fielder had already thrown the ball in and the play ended with the bases loaded.

The kid on 2nd would not have scored even if he were not interfered with.

A discussion ensued with the umpire. The umpire stated that the base-runner on 2nd base, who was interfered with, should be awarded 3rd base. I argued that there was no penalty being assessed in that the base-runner would be on 3rd anyway. I said that the base-runner should have been awarded an extra base (and therefore been awarded home).

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I believed that a penalty had to be assessed for the interference. The umpire disagreed and only gave the base-runner 3rd base (which he would have reached anyway).

Who was right?

COACH HENZE’S ANSWER

Thanks for the question Chris!

The rule in question here is actually an “obstruction” rule. According to the rules, “Defensive interference is an act by a fielder which hinders or prevents a batter from hitting a pitch.” It is called “Obstruction” when a defense Hinders a base-runner.

Obstruction is one of the toughest calls for an umpire to make because it is a judgement call. The umpire must decide if the runner would have scored had the obstruction not have happened.

Based on the scenario you gave above, the umpire agreed with you. The runner would not have scored even if the obstruction hadn’t happened. Due to this, he only awarded the runner 3rd base.

So, the umpire was correct in his ruling.

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