Notes from the Training Staff – October 2021

Now is the time to start reviewing the Rules Book, including the new rule changes for the 2021/2022 Season. Currently, there are three study groups formed in the Southern California area and one study group in Central California, with the possibility of a fourth study group being formed in Southern California. Study groups traditionally meet one night a week (in-person,

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October 2021 Test

The questions for this test come from the NCAA Softball Major Rule Changes for 2022-2023 document. This document can be found on the Locker Room, either on the Dashboard page or in the Rules Corner section.

Notes from the Training Staff – September 2021

From the Assigners The NCAA has announced a new college softball uniform for the 2022 season. For those of you registered in the NCAA Central Hub, you have seen their announcement. There are 2 options for the 2022 season because the manufacturer (Smitty) states the uniforms will not be available until late 2021 and early 2022. • Option #1 Conferences

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Zoned Out – Techniques for Rough Days Behind the Plate

Every umpire has had a rough game behind the plate. We have all had moments, or games, where we are struggling to decipher the balls and strikes. It happens at all levels and to veterans and rookies alike. External factors – bad pitching, catchers who shift late, etc. – may be a factor, but often our problems are our own

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No Right or Wrong Call?

  As college softball umpires, we study the rule book, case book and other resources in the hopes of getting all of our rule decisions correct. We do not just read the rule book; we study the rules, learn complex situations, review video, and get feedback from our fellow umpires. All that work does not ensure perfection. Nor does it

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Notes from the Training Staff – July 2021

From the Training Staff The first NCAA Approved Softball Bat List for the upcoming 2021-22 academic year has been posted. It is dated July 12, 2021. You can find a link to it on the Links page of the Locker Room, on the NCAA Softball Home Plate at www.sup.arbitersports.com, and on NCAA Softball Rules of the Game website. From the

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Rules Related to Ejections

This article discusses only the rules related to ejections. There are articles in the other Corners which cover the how to deal with ejections: Mechanics – The Mechanics for Ejections Game Management – Handling Ejections Protocols Corner – The Protocols for Ejections ADMINSTRATION INFORMATION Types of ejections There are two categories of ejections in college softball: • An administrative ejection

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Notes from the Training Staff – June 2021

From our CCSUA Assignors For the upcoming 2021/22 fall & spring softball seasons, we may see many conferences adopting the policy that only vaccinated officials can be on the roster for the upcoming season(s). Both the CCAA/D2 and the Pac-12 have already adopted this policy. Proof of completion of COVID vaccinations will be required. We expect other NCAA conferences to

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Illegal Player Rules

Criteria For college softball, the definition of an illegal player is a player who competes in the game in a way in which they are not entitled to play: • Player who is not listed on the lineup card/roster. • Starter who has entered or reenter the game to which she is not entitled. • Nonstarter who has entered the

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3 Crew Mechanics Quick Checklist

Thanks to Dan Cowan for this article. Its intent to help umpires who bounce back and forth between 2 Crew games and 3 crew games. Plate Umpire • Checked swing Request help from the open umpire. • Fly ball coverage area All fly balls when no base umpire covers. Left fielder to left field dead ball line when rotated. Right

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Community College Incident Report

Select the link below. It will give you the option to download the report form to your computer. See the instructions on the form for completing the report and sending it to the appropriate people. Community College Incident Report 2021 blank  

Notes from the Training Staff – May 2021

Schedule updates Community College play continues through June 9th. Accolades The GSAC Championship Tournament was held recently. Congratulations to Kent Jacobsen & Darren Deckard for their selection. The Commissioner & coaches were pleased with their professionalism. The SCIAC Championship Tournament will be held May 7-8-9 weekend: Crew: Leighton Hickman (crew chief), Tim Kohut, Danny Winders, Arturo Quinonez ORANGE EMPIRE CONFERENCE

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Preventive Umpiring versus Coaching

Parts of this article are taken from excerpts from Referee.com, 4/30/2021 Once in a while umpires will get into a debate about what should and should not be brought to the attention of coaches when it comes to certain situations whereby there may be a nuance between preventive umpiring in a situation which may be helping a team who could

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Notes from the Training Staff – April 2021

The 2021 softball season is in full swing. Community College games have started, NAIA as been playing for a while, and all three NCAA Divisions are well into their Conference games. New articles CCSUA/Play ball: SCIAC COVID Policies & Testing CCSUA/Play ball: Community College Covid Testing Protocols Updated articles and links Protocols Corner/Responsibilities: The Protocols for Ejections. A new link

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Community College Covid Testing Protocols

The following protocols have been sent to the assigners. We will update this document when we receive protocols from other schools or conferences. CCSUA recommends that you look for a free test site. Regardless of any school’s information, the CCSUA assigners have stated that masks are mandatory for umpires. If you have had your vaccines, it does not preclude you

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SCIAC COVID Policies & Testing

Health and Safety is a core value of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) and the well-being of our student-athletes and athletics department personnel including officials is a top priority. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all officials working SCIAC contests will be required to daily symptom check themselves and should expect to have their temperature taken prior to entering

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Notes from the Training Staff – March 2021

From the Assignors UPDATES TO ASSIGNMENTS The community college conferences will be up and running, but not all the colleges will participate. Here are a few updates: Scheduling and games Coast Conference – Terry Ching Still awaiting information at this writing. Western State Conference – Joanne Venditto/Tony Cooper Teams playing are Moorpark – Oxnard – Ventura – Cuesta – Bakersfield

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Topic and Focus Pre-games

Crew chiefs should consider starting the pre-game with their partners a few days before your game. Use the Rule Book, the CCA Manual and this article as your sources for material. Choose one of the pre-games below. Send an email to your crew and divide up the topics, with each member of the crew taking one or two items and

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Connecting with Coaches

Are you on their list? What does it take improve our relationships with coaches? Are you on the list when the coaches tell the assigner which umpires they would like to see umpiring their games? Let us admit it – there are some officials who gel with some coaches and, statistically, the ones who get along get further ahead. What’s

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CCSUA assignments Covid Site Procedures

For CCSUA Assignments (NCAA and NAIA conferences have their own regulations) MASKS • Masks shall always be worn properly with both the nose & mouth completely covered; such, that neither nostril, nor the tip of the nose is visible. • Color: No designs. White, blue, black preferred. Avoid bringing your hands to your face & avoid adjusting the mask unless

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Notes from the Training Staff – February 2021

From the training staff NCAA – Rule changes, revised rules, clarifications and interpretations for 2021 Most of these were presented during the CCSUA Annual Meeting (Zoom meeting). Uniforms (3.10.3) 3.10.3. Commemorative/memorial patches allowed if authorized by institution or conference (e.g. names, mascots, nicknames, logos, and those intended to celebrate or memorialize persons, events or causes). See Locker Room (LR) article

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Player substitution rules

Reporting substitutions Player substitutions Any player may be substituted for at any time when the ball is dead. Any coach may notify the umpire of a substitution; it must be a coach, not a player. Substitutes are considered officially in the game when all of the following is completed: • Reported and accepted by the plate umpire by his/her recording

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2021 Experimental Rule for Video Replay

NCAA is continuing with their experimental rule regarding video replay for the 2021 season. This experimental rule is an addendum to 5.9.9 under certain conditions. In conference games (when two conference teams play each other in a conference game), including the conference tournament, the crew chief may initiate a review of designated plays at his/her discretion beginning with the 6th

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What You Do Not Say to Coaches

In today’s situation with social media and other venues, anything and everything an umpire says may be heard, whether on the field or off the field. Never make any off-handed comments about a person that may be construed to affect an individual’s reputation. This becomes even more important when umpires are on the field. Umpires may use many different words

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2021 CCA Manual Major Changes

Overview The 2021 CCA Manual has undergone some major changes from the 2020 manual. This article will cover most of the changes, but you are strongly encouraged to read the Manual in detail, especially the all-new sections. The 2021 CCSUA Annual Meeting – Mechanics Presentation is also available to view. You can locate it by selecting the Training Information button

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Slap-Hitters – Think Outside The Box

Softball has a unique “play” that is not part of the baseball world – slap hitters. With first base only 60 feet away from home plate in softball compared to 90 in baseball, the left-handed slap hit is a major offensive tool used in softball. The slap hit has placed great scrutiny on the batter’s feet in relationship to the

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Sample EMAIL to Coach 2021

View / Download PDF SAMPLE EMAIL FOR YOU TO UPDATE & SEND TO EVENT STAFF/A.DIRECTOR/COACHES DELETE ALL THIS BEFORE YOU SEND Bold highlighted areas need to be REPLACED for each game/series. Use single or DH BUT ERASE THE ONE YOU DON’T USE Email Subject Line: (School Name) Softball Game/Series on (Date/Dates) Event Manager/Coach, (USE THIS FOR SERIES/DOUBLE HEADER) This is

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GSAC Covid-19 Protocols for Game Officials – 2021 season

Arizona Christian University • Masks are required once on campus and in all common areas in the athletic facilities when not engaged in athletic activities. • Once arrived, officials will need to check in with the designated Arizona Christian University game administrator for temperature screening and NAIA COVID-19 Questionnaire before entering official’s room. • All screening results will be recorded

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Notes from the Training Staff – January 2021

Reminder – the annual CCSUA/Assignors meeting will be held on January 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. You must register for this meeting. You have been sent emails with the link to register and the link to this on-line Zoom meeting. You can also find these links in an article posted to the Locker Room – CCSUA/Assignors annual meeting

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CCSUA/Assignors annual meeting 2021

The CCSUA/Assignors annual meeting will be held on January 24, 2021, from 9am to 1pm. This will be an on-line Zoom meeting. You must register in advance for this meeting PLEASE before Thursday, January 21st: Here is the link to register: https://cccconfer.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIrcuyqrjwiGNT_Xdty8kM1AmDxj3EpzWpQ  Please register immediately. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Here

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The Wedge

Optimal Positioning for Tag Plays The evolution of the mechanics for calling plays at home plate has been fascinating to observe. Plate umpires can make decisions on 250 to 300 pitches in a game, but one call at the plate might decide the outcome of the game. For many decades, umpires approached plays at the plate using the first-base line

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Notes from the Training Staff – December 2020

A new NCAA Approved Softball Bat List (December 14, 2020) and Summary of Changes (December 14, 2020) have been posted. The link to the current bat list on our Locker Room Links page has been updated. You can access this new bat list by going to the Locker Room (select the Links button on the Dashboard page) or by using

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Notes from the Training Staff – November 2020

From the training staff The CCSUA training staff welcomes questions on rules, mechanics, game management and protocols…basically anything related to college softball umpiring. We use these questions as teaching moments. To accomplish this, we need the communications to be sent in emails – much easier to copy/paste the questions and have a record of the answers. Send your questions to

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College Appeal Plays

An appeal play is a play or rule violation on which the umpire responsible for the play does not make a ruling until requested by a coach or player. Let’s get this notion out of the way now…despite how some coaches will ask for you to “appeal your call” to another umpire, that is not an appeal – it is

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Appeal Plays Advanced Topics

The basics for appeal plays are covered in this companion article – College Appeal Plays. It would be wise to read that article before reading this one. PROPER APPEAL PROCEDURE TO AVOID CONFUSION The two runners on base both appear to have left their bases before the batted ball was first touched by the outfielder who catches the fly ball.

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Batter Hit by Pitch

A batter is awarded first base when a pitch, neither swung at nor called a strike, is entirely within the batter’s box and it contacts the batter or her clothing. No attempt to avoid the pitch is required. It does not matter if the ball hits the ground before hitting the batter; it is still ruled a hit-by-pitch. A batter

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Batter Actions

On-deck Batter The college rule, unlike other codes, does not require a player to be occupying the on-deck circle. If it is occupied, it is restricted to the next batter only in the circle nearest her dugout. Warmup swings may be taken with not more than two bats: • One or two official softball bats or • One approved warmup

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Interference by On-Deck batter, Batter and Retired batter

Note: The batter-runner interference article is in the Runners/Batter-Runner section of this Rules Corner. Also read these articles for more batter regulations – Batter/Bat Hitting the Ball a Second Time and Batted ball hits batter. On-Deck Batter An on-deck batter can be the interference perpetrator in a number of ways. The on-deck circles are much like the coaches’ boxes –

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Notes from the Training Staff – October 2020

From Referee Magazine Barry Mano You all receive Referee Magazine every month as part of your CCSUA/NASO membership. Are you using this resource? In each issue Barry Mano, founder of NASO and Referee Magazine publisher, has a column Publisher’s Memo. This is always good reading. In the current issue (November 2020), Barry discusses the impact the pandemic has taken on

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Covering fly balls

Properly covering fly balls is an important part of a base umpire’s responsibilities. The decision to cover the fly ball and the proper mechanics can be very different depending on whether the crew is working the 2-umpire or the 3-umpire system. Because of this, the articles for covering fly balls are posted in this Mechanics Corner in the appropriate sub-categories:

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Notes from the Training Staff – September 2020

From our Chairperson, Rich Kollen: Our world sure has changed since March due to COVID-19. It has affected sports at all levels. We lost the 2020 collegiate softball season as well as all summer tournaments and games. Opportunities for student athletes to be evaluated by college coaches for scholarships were lost. As I write this, we are still in limbo,

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Infield Fly and Intentional Drop Rules

The infield fly rule is not often invoked during a game. The intentional drop call is even more rare. There are many considerations for both of these, and they can become controversial when they are called. Infield Fly The infield fly rule is in effect only when there are fewer than two outs with either runners on 1b and 2b,

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Left-handed catchers

From Referee Magazine, September 2020 Most softball catchers are right-handed, but it sometimes seems left-handed catchers are more frequent than in the past. The strike zone does not change, but a few tips on the mechanics of working behind a left-handed catcher is helpful. Watch warmup pitches Umpires should do this for each half-inning of the first inning regardless of

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Notes from the Training Staff – August 2020

There have been many changes and updates to the CCSUA Locker Room since our last posting of the Notes from the Training Staff – July. Thanks to the members of the Training Staff who have helped with a complete review of the articles and videos on the Locker Room – Dan Cowan, Mark Craver, Lyle Dove, Tony Garcia, Bob McElroy,

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Obstruction Call Mechanics

Preparing for the obstruction call Obstruction is one of the toughest calls to make during a game. The entire crew must prepare for this by including it as a topic during all umpire pre-games and as part of their pre-pitch preparation, especially with runners on base. On every play, especially tag plays, be watching for obstruction during all phases of

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Discontinuing a pitch/Stepping off pitcher’s plate

The rules The change in pitching rule 10.2.1.2 for the 2020-2021 Rule Book (stride foot not being able to step back once it is initially set) has ramifications for rule 10.11 – Discontinuing a Pitch/Stepping off the Pitcher’s Plate. The wording in the current rules make it technically impossible to properly discontinue a pitch. (Note: all references in this article

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Mechanics for Illegal Pitch Calls

Responsibilities Calling illegal pitches is an important duty for both the plate and base umpires. In previous years, it was mostly the responsibility of the plate umpire to call illegal pitches for violations involving the pitcher’s preliminary procedures, and the base umpires to call any violations during the step/stride and delivery. The old saying – plate umpire has the hands;

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Illegal pitch – Rules and Options

Calling an illegal pitch is the responsibility of every umpire on the field. It requires a good knowledge of the rules governing this violation, using the correct mechanics, and administering the ruling which may involve explaining the options for the violation. The articles for correct mechanics and administering the rule can be found in the Mechanics and Game Management sections

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Runner Interference

Because of the complexity of the interference rule and also due to the usually highly intensive argument that the interference call elicits, the Locker Room has multiple articles covering the different types of interference. This article will focus on interference by an active runner (excluding the batter-runner). The other articles which cover interference, all of which are in this same

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Interference by Retired Runner

Because of the complexity of the interference rule and also due to the usually highly intensive argument that the interference elicits, the Locker Room has multiple articles covering the different types of interference. This article will discuss retired runner interference. Interference by a retired runner does not happen often but when it does the effect is serious – the runner

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Offensive Team Personnel/Equipment Interference

 Offensive Team Personnel Interference This article is the second one which discusses uncommon interference, the first of which is Interference by Retired Runner. Another type of uncommon interference is perpetrated by offensive team personnel. Who, exactly, are included as offensive team personnel for this rule? We have covered two examples above – a retired runner and a runner who has

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Managing Trick Plays

Deception is part of every sport and softball is no different in that regard. Clever coaches constantly think of ways to fool opponents and it sometimes takes a few years for rules makers to shut it down. We need to be ready for these plays and judge whether they violate a rule or not. If they do not violate any

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Notes from the Training Staff – July 2020

From the Assignors If you have seen that you are not getting Arbiter mass emails from Assignors, you need to change a setting in your Arbiter within the Group you are in. So, if you belong to multiple Arbiter Sports Groups, you need to go into each one and fix the ALERT SETTINGS. Click on PROFILE…Click on PREFERENCES…. Look at

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The College Strike Zone

Still the same and still a Focus Item The college softball strike zone has not changed for a long time; it is still the zone explicitly described in rule 11.3.1 and in the diagrams on pages 106 and 107 in the NCAA rule book. For the last few years, the strike zone has remained  an “In Focus” item in the

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Managing Arguments Effectively

This article includes excerpts from Referee publication No Argument. One of the biggest factors which separate the top college umpires is their ability to manage a game. College coaches, in general, have a more active role in the game because, for most of them, this is their livelihood, their job/career. Their longevity in that job can depend on the success

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Do You Protect the Batter or Catcher?

From Referee.com, March 9, 2018 A few situations come up over the years that may leave you wondering whom to protect — batter or catcher?  Is it catcher obstruction?  Or batter interference?  Or a collision?  Having a firm grasp on whom to protect will allow you to make the calls and explain to questioning coaches. Protecting the catcher A left-handed

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Batter/Bat Hitting the Ball a Second Time

The batter swings at the pitch and while the bat is still in the batter’s hands, the batted ball bounces back into the bat.  Or…the batted ball rolls on the ground near the plate area and the discarded bat contacts the batted ball.  These are not unusual plays during a typical game and the plate umpire must be ready to

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Batted ball hits batter

Here is a play that happens once in a while and sometimes causes a discussion among umpires – a batted ball contacts the batter who is not completely out of the batter’s box. Specifically: the batter bunts or swings at a pitch; the batted ball hits the dirt or plate; then the ball bounces up and contacts the batter before

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Check Swings

A rule change, effective with the 2020-2021 rule book, was made with regard to “if the defense requests help on a check swing, the plate umpire is required by rule to ask for help. If anyone else, on either offense or defense, asks for help, the umpire may (but is not required) to ask for help.” Check swings can be

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Obstruction Rules

The obstruction call can be one of the most controversial calls in a game and requires college umpires to have a thorough knowledge of the rules related to this call. An obstruction call can change the complexity and even the outcome of a game, as it has the potential to award bases which may result in game-winning runs to score.

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Obstruction – Warnings, Additional Awards and Ejection

The obstruction rule in college softball is more complicated than in any other code. Obstruction in all softball codes involve the effect/penalty of base awards for the obstructed runner and any other runners affected by the obstruction. When obstruction is committed in a college softball game, there is the possibility of additional effects involving warnings, additional one-base awards after a

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Obstruction between bases

Obstruction often happens when the runner is between two bases. It can happen when a runner is advancing normally to the next base, is rounding a base, getting caught in a rundown, on a pickoff attempt, or returning to a base after a caught fly ball. This article will discuss only the parts of the obstruction rule which cover the

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Verbal and Visual obstruction

The college rule book states that there does not need to be physical conduct for an obstruction call. Visual obstruction is specifically cited in three rules. The rule book is not as clear with respect to verbal obstruction, as there is no specific rule which specifically lists this as a form of obstruction. There is one interference rule and one

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Team Interference – Home Run Celebration

NCAA Rules Waiver posted 1/27/2021: Due to challenges resulting from COVID-19, softball rule 12.17.3.4.2 has been changed for the 2021 season. This new waiver prohibits offensive team personnel from congregating anywhere outside the dugout to congratulate a runner(s) after an out-of-park homerun. A further clarification by Craig Hyde was given on his 2020-2021 Preseason Message posted on 2/5/2021, during which he

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Collisions

Be ready to make this call The NCAA has added to the rule book additional wording and emphasis on collisions with the intent to encourage players to avoid them whenever possible. This puts additional pressure on umpires, as we now need to judge whether a collision was avoidable, intentional, malicious, obstruction, interference, or some combination of these. Collisions can happen

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