Plate Umpiring Advanced Techniques

What are the main differences between umpiring baseball and softball?

The short answer: The rules of Little League softball and baseball are very similar with a few differences to be aware of at home plate.



Topic Softball Baseball
Can a player re-enter a game as a pitcher after having been removed from the pitching position? - A pitcher may be removed and re-enter the same game as a pitcher if she continued in a defensive position. In other words, she cannot sit out any plays on defense and still be eligible to pitch later. - A pitcher may not re-enter the same game as a pitcher once removed from the pitching position.
What are the rule differences relating to bunting? - A batter who shows a bunt and decides not to, must retract the bat or it is called a strike. - A batter, who shows a bunt, does not have to retract the bat. So long as he does not make an attempt (and the ball was not in the strike zone), it is called a ball.
What is the size of the batter's box?  - Batter's box is 7' long with the extra foot ahead of the plate. Thus the batter may legally stand further up from the plate than in baseball.  - Batter's box is 6' long, centered evenly to the side of the plate.
Can a baseball bat be used for softball (and vice versa)?  - Softball bats, typically longer, must be used.  - Baseball bats must be used.
Does a catcher have to use a catcher's mitt?  - No, a catcher can wear a catcher's mitt, first baseman's mitt or a fielder's glove.  - Yes, a catcher must use a catcher's mitt.


A note on pitching motion differences

-  The pitching arm and leg motions are quite different between softball (underhand) and baseball (overhand). Thus, there are some subtle variations between the two on illegal pitching motions.


-  Pitching rule violations are illegal pitches, with a ball called on the batter. Becoming familiar with illegal pitches is an advanced skill that requires game experience. Work with and learn this topic from a veteran umpire, focusing on the most common illegal pitching examples.


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