There is an obscure SSUSA softball rule that can be violated either by fielding a ball in the air or on the ground. Here is the situation. Think about the call.
Oz is playing 3B with 1 out and Insane McNutly is the runner on 1B.
Batter hits a line drive knuckler to Oz who misjudges the ball and it slams into the crook of his arm. At that moment Insane takes off to 2B.
Oz, screaming like a little girl, plucks the ball from his arm with his throwing hand and fires the ball on a perfect line to 1B which the runner has not crossed yet. Oz celebrates his double play but then the real pain sets in. Insane is safe at 2B.
What's the call? (pause to think……., I’ll bet you won’t)
Paraphrasing SSUSA rules: a ball must be caught with a glove or a hand for it to be legal.
The “one touch” rule says "...as soon as the ball touches any part of the fielder, the runner can take off to the next base."
As long as the ball hasn’t touched the ground and the batter hasn’t touched 1B (in this case), Oz may grab the ball from his arm (or his teeth) with his hand and the batter is out.
Oz was right to get control of the ball quickly and had completed the out at that point. His throw to 1B was pointless. With his excellent peripheral vision, he should have seen Insane break for 2B and nailed him for the double play. Insane was sane to take off when the ball clobbered Oz.
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January 11, 2024