Ask the Ump!


QUESTION: In high school baseball, following a pitch, the catcher returns the ball to the pitcher. Is there a time limit (20, 15, or 10 seconds) for the batter to be ready in the box? If a batter takes a pitch for strike one, is he allowed to leave the box?

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ANSWER: Yes, batter must be ready within 20 seconds; if not, a penalty strike is called for delay of game. Pitcher is not required to make a pitch for this penalty to be assessed and ball remains live. Batter must keep at least one foot in box throughout at bat unless he swings at pitch and other exceptions. Taking a called strike one or two requires batter to maintain his place within box. (BB- Rule 8, Sec. 3, Art. 1).

QUESTION: In high school softball, following a pitch, is there a time limit (20, 15, 10 seconds) for batter to be ready in box after ball has been returned to pitcher? If the pitcher hesitates in her delivery because the batter stepped out of the box and pitch is not delivered, is this an illegal pitch called on pitcher? Is this a batter’s violation with penalty?

ANSWER: Time limit is 10 seconds for batter to be ready with two feet in box; penalty is a strike assessed to batter. When the pitcher hesitated as a result of batter’s actions, both players violated a rule; hence, no pitch is the call. If pitch was legally delivered with batter out of box, batter is assessed a penalty strike for game delay and ball remains live. (Rule 7, Sec. 3, Art. 1, Pena. & Effects).