Batter-Runner and BR Interference

Batter-Runner

The batter transitions from batter to BR when she no longer has either foot in the batter’s box after contacting a pitch:
• After a legally batted fair ball that is not blocked.
• Because of a dropped third strike
• When a fair batted ball unavoidably strikes a base runner (not in contact with a base) or an umpire, including the attached equipment or clothing of either, after touching a fielder (including the pitcher).
• When a fair untouched batted ball unavoidably strikes a base runner (not in contact with a base) or an umpire, including the attached equipment or clothing of either, after passing a fielder (other than the pitcher), and no other fielder had a chance to make a play.
• When a base runner is unintentionally hit by a fair untouched batted ball while in contact with a base, and the closest defensive player is in front of that base.
• When a fair batted ball becomes lodged in a defensive player’s uniform or equipment.

Note: hitting a foul ball is not included in this listing. If the foul ball is not caught, she has not completed her turn at bat (unless it is a bunt attempt with two strikes). If a foul ball is caught, she has completed her turn at bat.

Batter-Runner interference

It is important to understand the difference between batter interference and batter-runner (BR) interference. You may also reference rule 11.12 and its table to better understand the rule for the batter-runner hitting the ball a second time. Although this rule is in the Batting rule, its Effect is the same for a BR when the batter transitions from batter to BR (see the rows which have “Out” and “In/out”.

Contacting ball/interfering with a fielder

As a BR she may now be called for interference if she contacts the batted ball with the bat a second time – either a ball in fair territory or intentionally with a foul ball. In addition, the BR commits interference when she:
• Throws the whole bat into fair territory and it interferes with the defensive player.
• Interferes with the catcher’s attempt to field a third strike (see the article Do You Protect the Batter or Catcher?)
• Impedes a fielder making a play on a batted ball, either fair or might become fair.
• Impedes a fielder’s attempt to throw or receive a thrown ball

Case Book Plays

Play 1: The BR unintentionally kicks the ball that has deflected off the catcher who attempted to field a dropped third strike.
Ruling: Live ball, no interference.

Play 2: The BR bumps into F3 who is attempting to field a dribbler in fair territory. The BR has both feet in the runner’s lane but her left elbow hits F3 as she fields the ball, causing F3 to not make the play.
Ruling: Dead ball and interference is called for impeding a fielder attempting to field a batted ball.

Play 3: The slapper hits a high bouncer near the plate area and contacts the batted ball before any fielder has a chance to field it. At the time of BR/ball contact, the BR had one foot on the ground completely outside the batter’s box and the other foot in the air.
Ruling: This is interference; the BR is no longer a batter as she has no part of either foot in the batter’s box.

Runner’s lane interference

The BR may also be called out for violating the runner’s lane rule. The key to this rule is that the BR must interfere with the fielder taking the throw at first base – no throw, no interference. The throw does not have to contact the BR; it is interference if her location interferes with the fielder positioned at first base from receiving a thrown ball. It is not interference if the calling umpire judges it was just a bad throw by the defender.

The other important stipulation for an interference call is that the BR has either foot completely outside the lane and on the ground – she is out whether a thrown ball hits the part of her body which is in fair territory or in the lane. She may leave the lane on her last stride in order to touch first base.

Case Book Plays

Play 4: A slap bunt is fielded by the catcher in front of home plate. F2 is ready to throw, but seeng the BR in her way with one or both feet out of the runner’s lane, she hesitates, eventually throwing the ball to first base but the throw arrives late.
Ruling: the BR has not interfered if a fielder does not throw or hesitates before throwing.

Play 5: Same as Play 4, but the throw hits the BR two strides before the base.
Ruling: Runner’s lane interference; dead ball and all runners return to base occupied at the time of the pitch.

Play 6: The catcher fields a bunt and throws the ball to first base. The BR has been running in the runner’s lane and the throw hits the BR on her last stride before the base.
Ruling: The rule allows the BR to leave the lane on her last stride in order to touch 1b. Live ball; no interference

Play 7: The catcher fields a bunt and throws the ball to first base. The BR has been running outside the runner’s lane and the throw hits the BR on her last stride before the base.
Ruling: Since the BR has not been running in the runner’s lane, this is interference. She cannot be considered to be leaving the lane if she was not in the lane.