The Ole Ball Game

How far in can you play your outfield

by mark
(cedar rapids, iowa USA)

Mark asked: I am the coach of a girls softball team and the opposing coach complained that i wasn't playing my outfield deep enough.



Rick answered: Mark, thank you for your question.

The rules below are from the Little league Rule Book, and the National Federation Rule Book, and cover your question.

Little league:

4.00 Starting and Ending The Game:

4.02...The players of the home team shall take their defensive positions, the first batter of the visiting team shall take a position in the batter's box, the umpire shall call"play" and the game shall start.

4.03...When the ball is put in play at the start of, or during a game, all fielders other than the catcher shall be in fair territory.

a) The catcher shall be stationed in the catcher's box. The catcher may leave that position at any time to catch a pitch or make a play except that when the batter is being given an intentional base on balls, the catcher must stand with both feet within the lines of the catcher's box until the ball leaves the pitcher's hand.

b) The pitcher, while in the act of delivering the ball to the batter, shall take the legal position.

c) Except the pitcher and catcher, any fielder may be stationed anywhere in fair territory.


Federation:

Rule 1- Players, Field and Equipment

Section 1...Position of players

Art 4...At the time of the pitch, all fielders shall be on fair ground except the catcher, who shall be in the catcher's box. A fielder is in fair ground when at least one foot is touching fair ground.

Based on the rule books quoted above, you are able to play your outfield anywhere within fair territory.

By definition, you could play your outfielders in front of your infielders.

If your league had a special rule for this specific situation, all coaches should already know of it.

I would be interested in hearing why he felt your outfielders were too close, and whether that has come up before within the league.

Yours in baseball,

Rick

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