The CCA manual is a very thorough document, but like any umpire manual, it cannot cover every possible play that might happen on a softball field. Strange plays and unusual situations will occur; the college softball umpire must be a thinking umpire, ready to adjust to anything that might happen on the field. Per page 45 in the 2013 CCA Manual: “Any deviations or adjustments from the standard will only be dictated by the action on the field and must be communicated among the crew at the time.”
3-umpire system, plate umpire cannot rotate to 3b
With R1, a ball is hit such that the PU’s first responsibility is ball status. This could be a bunt rolling down the 1b line, fair/foul down the RF line, ball near the dead-ball area (catch and carry, overthrow rolling close to dead-ball area). Rotated U3 must read this play, see the PU staying with his/her first priority, and be ready to take R1 to 3b. U1 must also be alert to this situation and prepare to take the BR at both 1b and 2b. The key to this play is two-fold:
o Each umpire reads the play and knows his/her new responsibilities
o Communication is vital
Example: If the PU has the time and can do it without confusing fielders and BR, he/she should yell “I’ve got the ball.” U3 should yell “I’ve got 3b.” U1 should yell “I’ve got 1st and 2nd.”
3-umpire, non-enclosed field, ball near dead-ball line (New, Dec 2013)
Here is another example of an unusual play which might require on-the–field, quick-reaction, clear-communication, deviations from standard mechanics. All of these items must happen for the crew to cover the unusual play.
o Recognition by the crew of the situation
o Quick reaction to handle the situation and cover ball and base responsibilities as possible
o Good communication between the crew.
Standard or rotated starting position
(Either no runners on base, or a runner on first-base only.