What is the call if a first base coach while in his box reaches to catch a line drive and only knocks the ball down?
by Harold Jacobs
(Pembroke, North Carolina)
Harold asked: Playing in a 11 U travel championship game, the batter hits a pitch which lines to the right side, toward the first base coach who is facing the batter.
The coach reaches to his right and hits the ball, what is the call?
Rick answered: Harold, thank you for your question.
Coaches boxes at all levels of play are located a good distance from fair territory. That is mostly designed for safety reasons; but it also keeps the coaches from getting in the way of a possible play, on purpose or by accident.
As you look at the images above, the first is in a MLB stadium, the second is a High School Stadium.
There would be no interference call on your described situation, unless the coaches contact with the line drive prevented the first baseman from making a play on the ball, in which case interference could be called. It would be the same scenario at third base.
The umpire would have to believe that the first baseman could reasonably have caught the line drive, had not the coach reached out and knocked it down.
If that is what the umpire believed, then the umpire should have called a "dead ball" and called the batter out.
If there were runners on base, due to the dead ball, they would have to return to the base they were at when the pitch was made.
If the umpire felt that no defensive player would have had a reasonable chance to field the ball, no call, foul ball, strike.
In real time, what was the umpire's call in your situation?
Yours in baseball,