SituationWith two outs and a runner on second base during a Major Division softball game, the batter hits a ball toward the third baseman. On contact, the runner moves to advance to third base as the third baseman fields the ball and attempts to throw out the batter-runner. The throw from the third baseman is wide of first base and hits the base coach in the arm. As the first baseman attempts to retrieve the ball, the batter-runner reaches first base safely and the base runner scores on the play. After the play has ended, the manager of the defensive team asks for, and is granted, time. The manager approaches the base umpire and asks why base coach interference was not called?
ExplanationIn the base umpire’s judgement, the base coach made no attempt to interfere with the ball or the play. With no intentional action by the coach there can be no interference. According to the 2016 Little League Baseball® Official Regulations, Playing Rules and Policies - Rule 5.08 – If a thrown ball accidentally touches a base coach, or a pitched or thrown ball touches and umpire, the ball is live and in play. However, if the coach interferes with a thrown ball, the runner is out.
Note: This is a judgement call for the umpire. Did the coach interfere, or was he/she simply in the wrong place at the wrong time? If the base umpire does judge that interference occurred, the play is to be killed immediately, the batter-runner is out, and the run would not count due to the third out of the inning being recorded.