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Old Tue May 01, 2007, 02:32pm
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Stepping toward 1st from stretch - Balk?

This is Junior Division baseball. Runner on 1B. RH pitcher pitching from the stretch places right foot against the pitcher's plate, feet spread apart. As he begins to bring his non-pivot foot in to go into his set position, he steps slightly toward 1B (about a 45 degree angle, about midway between HP and 1B) and then brings his non-pivot foot in next to the pivot foot as he goes into his set position. When he delivers the pitch he steps straight toward HP. Is this a balk? It is my understanding that anytime the pitcher is in contact with the P-plate and makes any movement toward 1B without delivering the ball to 1B it is a balk. Is this the case if he has not gone into his set position?
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Old Tue May 01, 2007, 02:52pm
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I might give him the benefit of the doubt on the first time. But he had better do this everytime he pitches from the stretch, if not he's balking.

i.e. I want to see what his "regular" stretch delivery is before balking him.
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Old Tue May 01, 2007, 02:59pm
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tibear,

Whether the pitcher does this every time, some of the time, or every once in a while has no bearing on whether or not this is properly ruled a balk.

rinbee,

The picture I have in my mind from your description is that the pitcher is engaging the rubber in set with his feet more or less "in line" with HP, and then, as he comes "set" (i.e. moves his free feet closer to his pivot foot & his hands together in front of his body) he is "opening his stance" such that his free foot is more toward 1B than it originally was.

Many HS age pitchers do this to make it easier to check the R1 without turning their shoulders. If the RHP's toes do not start moving/turning in the direction of 1B, this is not a balk. If they do, it is.

JM
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Old Tue May 01, 2007, 03:11pm
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I'm not sure I totally understand what your saying, however, if he is taking two distinct steps when coming set, it's a balk. That is, if he is taking his sign, then with his non-pivot foot, he lifts it off the ground and then touches the ground with it to get an angle toward 1B, then again lifting his foot and placing it closer to his pivot foot in contact with the rubber, then yes, it's a balk. Pitcher must come set in one continous motion. NFHS 6-3penalty, OBR 8.01b NCAA 9-1b
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Old Tue May 01, 2007, 03:30pm
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Not a balk. This is his motion for coming set. As long as that is his only motion to come set. His next move has to be 1) deliver a pitch, 2) step and throw to an occupied base, 3) step off.
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Old Tue May 01, 2007, 03:50pm
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Originally Posted by FTVMartin
Not a balk. This is his motion for coming set. As long as that is his only motion to come set. His next move has to be 1) deliver a pitch, 2) step and throw to an occupied base, 3) step off.
I agree with justanotherblue - it seems that F1 is making two separate motions, and not in a continuous fashion. It's immaterial if that is his natural stretch. If the motion is non-continuous, regardless of intent, it's a balk. If continuous, no balk. Your post describes something that on the surface appears to be non-continuous
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Old Tue May 01, 2007, 04:25pm
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Originally Posted by CoachJM
tibear,

Whether the pitcher does this every time, some of the time, or every once in a while has no bearing on whether or not this is properly ruled a balk.

rinbee,

The picture I have in my mind from your description is that the pitcher is engaging the rubber in set with his feet more or less "in line" with HP, and then, as he comes "set" (i.e. moves his free feet closer to his pivot foot & his hands together in front of his body) he is "opening his stance" such that his free foot is more toward 1B than it originally was.

Many HS age pitchers do this to make it easier to check the R1 without turning their shoulders. If the RHP's toes do not start moving/turning in the direction of 1B, this is not a balk. If they do, it is.

JM
JM:
Agree w/ you re: tibear's comment, except that Juniors may get some "latitude" in marginal or "technical" balks if they do it & pitch every stinkin' time. In this specific case, however, probably no:

I have a different "picture" from what I THINK you are picturing:

If you [and the OP] are describing a "set" where F1 comes to "set" with one [and only one] step; and that step just happens to "open" his stance toward first; then no: not a balk. HOWEVER:

If, as justa--blue [I think} wrote, he is taking TWO steps to come "set"; 1 toward 1st and the 2d bringing his feet more together and stopping [which is what I "picture" from the OP]: THEN, I've probably got a balk - wasn't a continuous uninterrupted motion/ included a feint to 1st. Maybe HTBT, and I might be able to be persuaded by other "evidence": the reaction of R1, for instance. But basically, if F1 starts w/ his feet in line between rubber & plate, takes a back-step toward 1st, then another to bring both feet together & come set: I think I've got a balk.

Carter
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Old Tue May 01, 2007, 06:35pm
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very open stance

If I read the stance correct from the stich, it is just a very open stance. If F1 twitches towards the plate, he has committed himself to pitch. I see no problem with the set as long as he opens the stance with the movement back towards the rubber and not after the set postion has been established.

My 2cents
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Old Tue May 01, 2007, 09:14pm
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I'm pretty sure I know what this is - I've seen this before - it is a Little League windup. The pitcher starts in the stretch, but then steps towards first and THEN towards home as he delivers.
We played a horrid school team last week who's pitcher did this. I asked the umpire before we started if it was a balk - he said he would let it go with no runners on, but would be a balk with a runner on base - you have to throw to first if you step in that direction while on the rubber, right?
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Old Tue May 01, 2007, 11:38pm
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1. Coming set in an open stance is legal...no balk.

2. A pitcher does not have to come set in the same manner everytime.
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