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by UmpCoach » Thu May 10, 2018 2:13 am

I have had different answer to this scenario.

This is for NFHS and MLB rules

Scenario #1: Runner on 1B. Righthanded pitcher in the stretch. Pitcher spins to throw to the 1B who is behind or in front of the runner....is this a Balk? Or is it a judgment on the umpire if he feels a play is being made on runner even though off the base?

Scenario #2: Runner on 3B. Righthanded pitcher in the stretch. Pitcher steps toward 3B bah and throws to the 3B player who is about 5'-10' off the 3B bag....is this a Balk or is this a judgment as well?
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by VTHokieUmp » Tue May 29, 2018 5:35 pm

It almost always boils down to judgment.

Both MLB and NFHS require the pitcher in contact with the pitcher's plate to complete the throw to first base. That throw must be to the bag or to F3 if he is close enough to make a legitimate play on the runner. If the pitcher throws to F3 who is off the bag, the umpire must determine if F3 had a legitimate chance to tag the runner. If F3 is playing back in a normal position or in on the infield grass for a bunt, and the pitcher throws to F3, it's doubtful F3 would be able to make a play and it would be a balk. If F3 is just behind or in front of the runner, and could attempt to tag the runner, then the throw is legal.

Third base is different. MLB requires the pitcher in contact with the pitcher's plate to complete the throw to third base while NFHS does not. Under MLB rules, if the pitcher throws to F5 in a normal third base position, it would be a balk because there's no way F5, playing in his normal position, could make a play on the runner.

Under NFHS rules, no throw is required. As long as F1 steps toward third base, he has met the requirement of the rule. So if F1 steps and throws to F5 off the bag, it's legal.
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