Filed by Ward Gossett
Its one of those rules often left to an umpires judgment. Does a hitter have to get out of the way of a pitched ball?
It happens time and again. Through last Tuesday, Walker Valley and McCallie batters had been hit and allowed first base 14 times each. McMinn County isnt far behind. Its for sure that some of the old school coaches teach their guys to lean into a slow curve. But I have seen umpires deny the runner first base, and they are justified.
So for all those fans who immediately cry that the batter has to make an attempt to get out of the way of a pitched ball, youre right.
The official rules of baseball, courtesy of veteran local ump Al Slater, state that a batter shall be awarded first baseball when touched by a pitched ball unless the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter or if the batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball. He cant be trying to swing. If he is not allowed first base, the ball is dead and no runner may advance. Its rule 6.08.
National High School Federation rule 7.3.4 says a batter shall not permit a pitched ball to touch him. In other words, he must get out of the way if he can.
E-mail Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org