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Little league game (15U):

  1. Fewer than 2 outs.
  2. A ball is batted into infield.
  3. A runner from 3B goes home and slides head/hands first just as a fielder throws the ball to the catcher.
  4. The throw is low and ends up being lodged under the sliding 3B runner who touches home plate with his hand.
  5. The umpire calls 3B runner "safe."
  6. The 3B runner does not call "time."
  7. The 3B runner then reaches underneath him and throws the lodged ball towards the pitcher.
  8. The umpire declares interference on the 3B runner, calls him out and nullifies his run (no score).

Was this call correct, or should the batter-runner be called out for teammate interference (and the run allowed to score)?

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At least in Major League Baseball, the umpire's call could be partially correct, depending on their interpretation of what occurred.

In the Major League Baseball Rulebook, 6.01(a)(5):

It is interference by a batter or a runner when:

  • Any batter or runner who has just been put out, or any runner who has just scored, hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of his teammate (see Rule 6.01(j))

This would depend on the umpire ruling that the action of the runner impeded a play being made on another runner. This is impossible to tell from the scenario above. If this was a situation where a runner was alone on third, and the runner scored roughly simultaneously with the batter-runner reaching first base, and the batter-runner did not round first base (so trailed off to the dugout side of the bag), then likely there was no play to be made, and no interference call should be made.

However, if there are other runners on the basepaths, or if there was any potential at all for a play at first, or at any other bag, or if the batter-runner rounded first towards second (even if he did not advance), it's likely the interference call was appropriate. In that sort of situation, the umpire is going to tend to give the benefit of the doubt to the fielders.

I don't see any reason the run should not score, though, in either case. The umpire has vast discretion, if they feel something that is not covered in the rules occurs - 8.01(c):

Each umpire has authority to rule on any point not specifically covered in these rules.

However, I don't see how this would apply; but again, it's hard to say without being at the game.

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  • While I assume Little League uses the same or very similar rules to MLB here, I can't verify that, as Little League does not make its rulebooks available for free - sorry!
    – Joe
    Nov 3, 2022 at 3:41
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    the MLB interpretation is good enough here, but if I'm reading it right, the rule 6.01(a)(5) means that the umpire's call was not correct. There was no follow-up play on any other runner, and even if there was a play on the batter-runner, then the run should have still scored and the batter-runner (not 3B runner) should have been declared out. Right?
    – mricon
    Nov 3, 2022 at 17:52
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    Hmm, rereading it I think you're right; "such runner" means the runner still on the field. I suppose the umpire might have considered it a "palpably unfair act", but ...
    – Joe
    Nov 3, 2022 at 18:19

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