Sunday, April 2, 2023

Coach Ejected from NCAA Softball Game After Runner Called Out for Leaving Early on HR

We don't cover softball all that often, but considering how well Mississippi State assistant coach Tyler Bratton's clothing blended in with the umpire crew—making his ejection look more like a scene from The Naked Gun than an NCAA game—we decided to visit the case of a runner called out on a HR, for leaving first base early.

NCAA softball instructs its umpires to signal a delayed dead ball by extending their arm with a fist out to the side; one such reason for a delayed dead ball concerns baserunners leaving prior to the pitcher's release of the pitch: "A base runner may not leave the base they attained until the pitcher releases the pitch to the batter. A base runner must be in contact with their base at the time a pitch leaves the pitcher’s hand" (NCAA 12.14.2).

With one out and one on (R1), Mississippi St batter Chloe Malau'ulu hit an apparent two-run home run; however, the umpires had called R1 Macy Graf for a violation of 12.14.2 and signaled a delayed dead ball. At the conclusion of the play, bearing in mind the penalty which is an option for the defensive coach to either "(1) take the result of the play or (2) 'No pitch' is declared, the batter is returned to the batter’s box and the offending base runner(s) is out," R1 Graf was declared out and Malau'ulu returned to bat, leading to Bratton's ejection.

Arkansas ultimately won the contest, 11-0, in five innings.


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