Base Umpiring Advanced Techniques

What are the main differences between umpiring baseball and softball?

The short answer: The rules of Little League baseball and softball are very similar. Once you get the hang of spotting and ruling on runners leaving early, you'll be able to base umpire both baseball and softball equally well.



Topic Softball Baseball
How are runners affected by the pitcher's circle? - A runner must immediately advance or retreat to a base when the pitcher has the ball within the circle. Failure to do so is an out on that runner unless a play is attempted on the runner. - There is no such circle or rule.
When is a runner allowed to leave a base?

- At Majors level, a runner may leave a base once the ball is released by the pitcher.


- At the Minors level, a runner may leave a base once the ball reaches the batter.

- At the Majors and Minors level, a runner may leave a base once the ball reaches the batter.
What is the penalty for these runner violations?  - In the case of a runner leaving early and a circle violation, the runner is out.  - In the case of a runner leaving early, the runner is not called out. In most situations, the runner returns to his base.
How do I handle these runner violations?  - Once you spot either of the two violations (circle and leaving early), immediately call "Time! Runner's out! She left early!"


- All play stops as a result of your Time call.


- You instruct all other runners to return to the last base touched prior to when you called time.

 - Once you spot the runner leaving early, toss a red flag or some other marker a few feet from where you're standing to signal the violation.


- The runner is allowed to proceed and play continues.


- Once play (all runners) stop, call "Time – Runner Left Early!" and point to the runner who left early.


- You instruct that runner to return to his original base unless he was put out. In that case, the out stands.


- A runner leaving early affects all other runners, who must also return to their original base.


TIP: The ruling for returning runners to bases gets messy when the batter gets a hit or another runner is put out during the play. So don't be too trigger-happy calling a runner for leaving early unless it is an obvious violation and truly made a difference in the outcome of the play.

Site Glossary
Definitions from the Little League Rule Book and terms used on this site.
LL101 Site Glossary Version 5.pdf
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