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Little League Rule Myths - Debunked

·         The ball is dead on a foul tip. A foul tip goes directly from the bat into the catchers glove and is caught. The ball is live and runners may advance at their own peril. 

·         A batted ball that hits the plate is a foul ball. Home plate and all bases are in fair territory. A batted ball that his the plate first can still go foul, whereas a batted ball that hits either 1st or 3rd base is always fair. 

·         The base coach can’t leave the coach’s box during play or he/she will be guilty of interference. He must leave the coaches box if a fielder is making an attempt on a batted ball. 

·         A batter-runner cannot overrun first base on a base-on-balls. Only in high school rules. A runner is not obliged to stop at 1st base on a base on balls. He may run through the bag. 

·         A fly ball that is deflected over the fence is a ground rule double. A fly ball deflected off a fielder over the fence in fair territory is a home run. 

·         A base runner cannot be guilty of interference on a ground ball if he or she doesn’t touch the fielder. Neither contact or intent is required to draw an interference call, only that the runner's actions hindered the fielder's ability to make a play on the ball. 

·         A batter who bats out of order is out. It is the batter who should have batted is out and only if the batter who batted in his place has reach base and no other play is made before appeal. If the error is caught before the at bat is complete, the correct batter assumes the count and finishes the at bat. This at bat would not count towards their must play rule. 

·         If a pitch hits a player’s hands it’s considered a foul ball, since hands are considered part of the bat. If a batter swings at a pitch which hits his hands, the ball is dead and a strike is called, no runner(s) may advance. If a batter is avoiding a pitch and is hit on the hands, he is awarded 1st base so long as his hands are not in the strike zone. 

·         When the catcher blocks the plate without the ball, it should be called interference. It is obstruction. No fielder can block the path to a base without possession of the ball. 

·         The runner must always slide when the play is close. There is no must slide rule in Little League. 

·         On an overthrow out of play, the runners get 1 plus 1; the base he/she is going to plus one base. All overthrow base awards are two bases. The only difference is whether it is from Time of Pitch or Time of Throw. The first throw by an infielder is Time of Pitch. The first throw from the outfield or 2nd and subsequent throws by an infielder are Time of Throw. If a pitcher throws a pick-off attempt out of play and didn't disengage the rubber before throwing it is one base, two if he disengaged the rubber before throwing. 

·         If a fielder holds a fly ball for two seconds it’s a legal catch, even if he/she drops it thereafter. A legal catch is one secured by the fielder and voluntarily released. A fielder could take 10 steps and drop the ball and it would not be a catch if he didn't voluntarily release the ball.

·         A runner who runs more the three feet away from a direct line between bases is out of the baseline and should be called out. There is no such thing as permanent baselines. The baseline is a straight line from where the runner is to the bag they are going to when a play is being made on them by a fielder. 

·         If a batter is batting out of turn, the scorekeeper should let the umpire know. A scorekeeper should not inform anyone of batting out of order infractions. 

·         The runner is out if tagged when he/she turns to the left after crossing first base. A runner running past 1st base does not have to turn right. They can turn either direction so long as they go directly back to the bag.

·         It can’t be an Infield Fly if the infielder is standing on the outfield grass. An infield fly is any pop fly with runners on 1st and 2nd or 1st, 2nd, and 3rd with less than two outs, that can be caught by an infielder with normal effort. It doesn't have to be caught by an infielder or on the infield. 

·         In order for a runner to be called out for interference, it must be intentional. Intent is not required. 

·         The batter is out when he/she hits the ball when he/she is touching home plate. Only if the entire foot is out of the batter's box. It is possible for a batter's foot to be in the box and touching home plate. 

·         A runner cannot be called out if hit by a batted ball while standing on a base. A runner is not protected while in contact with the base with the exception of an infield fly. 

·         In order to make a proper appeal play, the pitcher must first take the ball back to the mound. This is completely false. An appeal can be made by any fielder. 

·         A batter cannot change from the left-handed to the right-handed batter’s box after two strikes. A batter can switch from one batter's box to another as they see fit so long as it is not in an unsportsmanlike manner. 

·         A pitch that bounces as it comes in cannot be hit. Any pitched ball can be put into play. 

·         The batter is not out for interference with the catcher if he/she stays in the batter’s box. A batter is not completely protected from interference while in the batter's box. 

·         All appeals must be made verbally. Incorrect. An appeal must be specific and explicit. Verbal appeal is needed if there is any ambiguity about what or who is being appealed.  

·         Tagging the runner running from first on a ground ball is a tag play, not a force out. A force out is any out wherein a runner is forced to vacate the base they held due to a runner now advancing to that base. 

·         If a fielder runs into an umpire while chasing a fly ball, this is interference and the batter should be called out. Umpire contact is only called interference when a catcher's throw to retire a would-be base stealer is hindered by contact with the umpire. The runner(s) would be returned to the previous base. 

·         The batter-runner is always out if he runs outside the running lane after a bunted ball. In order for a runner to be in jeopardy of being put out for running outside the running lane there must be a good throw from the fielder that is interfered with. 

·         If the batter breaks his wrists when swinging, it’s a strike. A check swing strike is any swing by the batter that the umpire deems as an attempt to hit the ball. 

·         If the batter does not pull the bat out of the strike zone while in the bunting position, it’s an automatic strike. A bunt is not a swing until the batter attempts to hit the ball. Leaving the bat motionless on a pitch outside the strike zone is not a strike. 

·         Tie goes to the runner. The rule reads that the runner must beat the throw, not the same time as or beat it, but before the throw. By rule tie goes to the fielder. 

·         Runners may not run the bases in reverse order. Runners may run the bases in reverse order to tag up on a fly ball or retouch a missed bag. 

·         A runner may not steal on a foul tip. A foul tip is a live ball and therefore runners can advance at their own risk. 

·         It is a force out when a runner is called out for not tagging up on a fly ball. Incorrect, it is an appeal. 

·         Runners may not advance when an infield fly is called. Runners may advance at their own risk. 

·         The batter does not get first base if hit by a pitch after it bounces. Any pitched ball that touches a batter outside the strike zone results in a dead ball and the award of first base regardless if it bounces first or not. 

·         You must tag the base with your foot on a force out or appeal.  A fielder can touch the base with any part of the body while in possession of the ball. 

·         If a player’s feet are in fair territory when the ball is touched, it is a fair ball. Fair and foul is determined by the location of the ball when touched by a fielder regardless of their position relative to the foul line. 

·         If a fielder catches a fly ball and then falls over the fence it is a home run. This is a catch so long as the fielder retains possession of the ball. 

·         The ball is dead anytime the ball hits an umpire. Only if a batted ball has not passed a fielder other than the pitcher. No thrown ball is dead if it hits an umpire. 

·         Runners must stay on their bases until the pitcher releases the ball. In Majors and below the runners may not leave the base until the ball reaches the batter. 

·         The batter is out if he starts for the dugout before going to first after a dropped third strike. The batter can still run to first and is not out until he reaches dead ball territory. 

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