on deck batter
(San Diego, CA)
Everyone in on the action at home plate
Ezra asked: I just witnessed in a ball game the following. Ball was put in play with runners on first and second, first runner scored as the ball was fired home, the ball hit the on deck batter who had run up to home plate to base coach and was devirted from the pitcher who was there leading to the next run scoring. Should someone be called out or for the least be sent back to third.
Rick answered: Rick Answered: Great question Ezra! From the direction of your question, it sounds like this situation was a "no call".
Here are the rules which pertain to this situation, which was a case of offensive interference.
Rule 2-21 Article 1: Offensive Interference
Offensive interference is an act (physical or verbal) by the team at bat:
a) Which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play.
The definitive term for this situation is hinder. By getting hit with the throw and deflecting the ball away from the pitcher who was backing up the plate, the on deck hitter hindered the pitcher from stopping the ball and getting the second runner out, or at the very least keeping the runner at third base.
Rule 5-1-1e: The ball becomes dead immediately when there is interference by a runner, batter/runner or retired runner, the batter, or by any person( in this case the on deck hitter).
Rule 3-23: (No offensive team personnel, other than the base coach, shall be near a base for which a runner is trying so that a fielder may be confused, nor be on or near the baseline in such a way as to draw a throw, nor shall the base coach or members of the team at bat fail to vacate any area needed by a fielder in his attempt to put out a batter or runner, ( again the on deck hitter).
Ball becomes dead immediately and the runner is out, others return.
The first runner should score, the second runner is out and the batter/runner should return to the last base reached prior to the interference being called.
We all teach our on deck hitters to get up towards the plate and let the runner coming home know whether to slide or stand up. It has always been the case and probably always will be.
It does make a team somewhat susceptible to the situation you describe; but it isn't seen much. I have never seen it happen, as a player or coach in my 45 plus years, so I assume it must be pretty rare. That may be why there was no call on the play.
In the picture above, the on deck hitter is inside the home plate circle. Players don't need to get into the dirt area to be effective help for the runner, particularly younger players. Being a little further back, the better chance they can react to a bad throw and avoid the contact with the ball.
Situations such as this are one of the many things that make baseball such an interesting game. So much can happen in a short period of time and be complicated to sort out.
Yours in baseball,
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