May 5, 2010
Entry #: 3464953
|Rule 6.08 states that “[t]he batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided said runner advances to and touches first base) when (b) the batter is touched by a pitched ball which the batter is not attempting to hit unless (1) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (2) the batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball NOTE: If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball. If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a ball if that batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched. APPROVED RULING: When the batter is touched by a pitched ball which does not entitle that batter to first base, the ball is dead and no runner may advance.|
Please note that the adage that the “hands are part of the bat” is a myth. If a batter is hit on the hands while swinging the bat or while the ball is in the strike zone, the ball is dead and a strike shall be called. If the batter already had two strikes, then he now has three strikes and he is out. THIS IS NOT A FOUL BALL. If the batter is hit in the hands while the ball is out of the strike zone and the batter is not attempting to hit the pitch, the ball is dead, and the batter shall be awarded first.
When determining whether or not a batter has made an attempt to avoid being touched by the ball, the umpire should give the benefit to the batter. The purpose of 6.08 (b) (2) is to prevent those batters who are trying to gain access to first base by way of intentionally allowing the ball to hit them. It is important to remember that the Little League Rulebook is the Professional Baseball Rulebook with added rules appropriate to the level of play. As such, an umpire must also take into account the level of play when making his determination. Often times, young players see the ball approaching and freeze, getting that “deer in the headlights” look in their eyes. It is an injustice and a complete violation of the spirit of the rule to force that batter to remain in the box, and that batter should be sent to first.
In the upper levels of play, the umpire should turn their judgment to catch the cheaters those players who are truly attempting to get hit. When that is the case, the umpire should require the batter to remain in the box and hit. However, as stated before, the benefit of the doubt should be given to the batter. If any movement is made that can be considered an attempt to avoid being hit, then that batter should be awarded first base.
In those cases where the batter intentionally allows the ball to touch him/her, the umpire should call the pitch as if it had not touched the batter. The ball is dead and no runners shall advance. If the ball is in the strike zone, or if the batter is attempting to hit the pitch, the ball is dead, no runners may advance, and a strike shall be called. If it is the third strike, the batter is out. However, if the batter has three balls when he/she allows himself/herself to be hit by the pitch, and the ball is outside the strike zone, the ball is dead, ball four shall be called, and the batter awarded first, same as if the batter had not been hit.
If you have any questions about being hit-by-pitch, or any other rule, please send your questions to me at:
Indiana D5 UIC