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Old Mon Sep 25, 2017, 01:52pm
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Runner's Lane Question

I have a question regarding when a batter-runner takes that last stride into fair territory in order to touch first base in organizations that use just the single white bag at first. The question is: Is it different when the BR stays completely in his/her runner's lane until he/she must exit it to touch the bag, versus when the BR is outside the lane?

Here's what I mean. In pro baseball, the BR is given leeway when he stays in the three-foot lane on his way to first, but then hinders the fielder at first base taking the throw when he steps out of the lane "in the immediate vicinity of first base for the sole purpose of touching first base". "Immediate vicinity" is defined as the last step or stride before reaching the bag.

But if he's in that exact same position without ever having run in the lane (e.g., he's a righty batter who bunts the ball, and runs all the way to first base completely in fair territory), that leeway goes away. Any hindrance with the fielder taking the throw at first is treated as a violation because he never properly ran in the lane.

How is that handled in softball? With the NCAA reestablishing the runner's lane rule for next year, they included the exception that a BR may run outside the lane "if she leaves the lane on her last stride in order to touch first base." So do we treat a college softball player the same way as umpires treat BRs playing under pro baseball rules when it comes to being in fair territory for that last stride before reaching the bag? What about in NFHS or other softball rule sets that allow for a single first base bag?

I actually had that happen to me in a college scrimmage last Friday. The batter bunted a ball a foot or two up the first base line, and took off to first, basically straddling the foul line. F2's throw to first was right on the line, and F3 could not see it until it passed the BR a step or so before the BR reached the bag. If the BR had been in the lane the whole way until that last stride, I would've said No Harm, No Foul. But because she was never fully in her lane, I ruled her out for the violation. The first base coach insisted first that the ball didn't hit his BR, and then argued that she had to be where she was in order to touch first base. But I told him the BR never stayed in the lane to begin with.

Did I rule correctly?
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Old Mon Sep 25, 2017, 02:12pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manny A View Post
I have a question regarding when a batter-runner takes that last stride into fair territory in order to touch first base in organizations that use just the single white bag at first. The question is: Is it different when the BR stays completely in his/her runner's lane until he/she must exit it to touch the bag, versus when the BR is outside the lane?

Here's what I mean. In pro baseball, the BR is given leeway when he stays in the three-foot lane on his way to first, but then hinders the fielder at first base taking the throw when he steps out of the lane "in the immediate vicinity of first base for the sole purpose of touching first base". "Immediate vicinity" is defined as the last step or stride before reaching the bag.

But if he's in that exact same position without ever having run in the lane (e.g., he's a righty batter who bunts the ball, and runs all the way to first base completely in fair territory), that leeway goes away. Any hindrance with the fielder taking the throw at first is treated as a violation because he never properly ran in the lane.

How is that handled in softball? With the NCAA reestablishing the runner's lane rule for next year, they included the exception that a BR may run outside the lane "if she leaves the lane on her last stride in order to touch first base." So do we treat a college softball player the same way as umpires treat BRs playing under pro baseball rules when it comes to being in fair territory for that last stride before reaching the bag? What about in NFHS or other softball rule sets that allow for a single first base bag?

I actually had that happen to me in a college scrimmage last Friday. The batter bunted a ball a foot or two up the first base line, and took off to first, basically straddling the foul line. F2's throw to first was right on the line, and F3 could not see it until it passed the BR a step or so before the BR reached the bag. If the BR had been in the lane the whole way until that last stride, I would've said No Harm, No Foul. But because she was never fully in her lane, I ruled her out for the violation. The first base coach insisted first that the ball didn't hit his BR, and then argued that she had to be where she was in order to touch first base. But I told him the BR never stayed in the lane to begin with.

Did I rule correctly?
In your actual case " F3 could not see it ", it seems you ruled correctly.

As to the general principle, regardless of that other sport; it would only be an issue if the BR interfered with the throw. That would be the same as your actual case.

I feel like I'm missing something in the OP description, so please tell me what.
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Old Mon Sep 25, 2017, 03:13pm
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1. running in fair territory the entire time, veering to the right on the last step, hitting the bag, then going foul.
2. running in the running lane the entire time, veering left on the last step, hitting the bag, and going back foul.

In both cases, runner is in the exact same place, and is plunked with the ball on that last step. In sit 1, INT. In sit 2, play on.
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Old Mon Sep 25, 2017, 09:07pm
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Originally Posted by jmkupka View Post
In sit 1, INT. In sit 2, play on.
I think this is the correct interpretation. In Situation 1, the runner has violated by not completing her baserunning responsibilities at any time: she ran outside of the lane all the way to 1B, and interfered with the play. In Situation 2, the runner "did what she is supposed to" and was struck by the ball while taking the final stride, which is a rulebook exception to runner's lane INT.
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Old Tue Sep 26, 2017, 07:59am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CecilOne View Post
In your actual case " F3 could not see it ", it seems you ruled correctly.

As to the general principle, regardless of that other sport; it would only be an issue if the BR interfered with the throw. That would be the same as your actual case.

I feel like I'm missing something in the OP description, so please tell me what.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmkupka
1. running in fair territory the entire time, veering to the right on the last step, hitting the bag, then going foul.
2. running in the running lane the entire time, veering left on the last step, hitting the bag, and going back foul.

In both cases, runner is in the exact same place, and is plunked with the ball on that last step. In sit 1, INT. In sit 2, play on.
jmkupka said it better than I did, which is probably why I confused you. It basically amounts to the path the BR took before she hinders the fielder taking the throw at first base with her last stride to touch that base. What jmkupka covered is how it is ruled in that other sport, and I was wondering if it should be the same way in softball.

The resurrected NCAA runner's lane rule specifically mentions that the runner may "leave the lane" on that last stride. To me, that means if she was never in the lane in the first place, she doesn't get any leeway for interfering on that last stride. I'm just not sure if that's how it's handled for other softball organizations that don't make mention of that.
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Old Tue Sep 26, 2017, 12:57pm
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Originally Posted by Manny A View Post
..."if she leaves the lane on her last stride in order to touch first base." ...
It is hard to leave the lane if you were never in it!
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Old Tue Sep 26, 2017, 01:52pm
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Originally Posted by Dakota View Post
It is hard to leave the lane if you were never in it!
Agree. That's why I said I think it's clear in NCAA play. My question was really focused on NFHS, and any other organizations that use single-first base bags.
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Old Tue Sep 26, 2017, 02:01pm
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Originally Posted by CecilOne View Post
I feel like I'm missing something in the OP description, so please tell me what.
I still don't know if I am reading the problem correctly.
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Old Wed Sep 27, 2017, 01:58pm
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Originally Posted by CecilOne View Post
I still don't know if I am reading the problem correctly.
And I guess I'm at a loss what is missing, when jmkupka pretty much covered it clearly in my mind. It's simply a matter of the two paths the BR takes to come to the last stride before she touches the base.

If her path is within the runner's lane, she's okay if she hinders F3 receiving the throw (assuming, of course, that the throw is right at the base, requiring F3 to look through the BR to see it, instead of well to F3's right so she has to stretch towards second base to catch it). The BR is allowed to leave the lane for that last stride to touch the bag since it's in fair territory.

But if her path is in fair territory the whole way and she gets to the same place when she hinders F3, then she's not okay because she never ran to first the way the rule requires to preclude that hindrance.
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Old Wed Sep 27, 2017, 02:43pm
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Originally Posted by Manny A View Post
Agree. That's why I said I think it's clear in NCAA play. My question was really focused on NFHS, and any other organizations that use single-first base bags.
NFHS covers this in 8-2-6. That language is different, and does not provide for a last-step exemption, but I think the interpretation is the same: run IN the lane, interfere at the bag = no call. Run OUT of the lane, interfere at the bag = dead ball, BR out for INT, runners return to last touched base.
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Old Wed Sep 27, 2017, 04:50pm
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And it is also being out of the lane at the moment of INT, not necessarily the entire length.
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Old Thu Sep 28, 2017, 09:27am
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Originally Posted by CecilOne View Post
And it is also being out of the lane at the moment of INT, not necessarily the entire length.
At that moment does the foot have to be touching the ground outside the lane?
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Old Thu Sep 28, 2017, 11:25am
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Originally Posted by umpjim View Post
At that moment does the foot have to be touching the ground outside the lane?
The NCAA rule seems to imply that, but I'm extremely skeptical that the intent of that rule is for a runner running in fair territory to be able to interfere because both feet are in the air at the time of contact.

Neither the ASA nor NFHS rule have that implication.
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Old Wed Oct 04, 2017, 09:12am
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A couple related questions, please:

1. USA has always interpreted the lane as extending vertically on both sides, meaning that both feet can be entirely within the lines while upper body part(s) can still extend beyond, potentially causing interference. It's been discussed and concurred on this forum. Question: Does NCAA interpret this the same way?

2. Again NCAA, due to the absence of the double base, is the B/R allowed to run in fair territory, without fear of an INT call, if fielder sets up foul to take a throw from foul ground and BR still gets plunked?

3. Again NCAA, is running lane INT enforced TOP or TOT? Does R1 from 3B, crossing the plate right after the bunt and well before the INT, have to return? (This I can find myself, but I don't have my book)

Last edited by jmkupka; Wed Oct 04, 2017 at 09:16am.
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