What Is An Illegal Pitch In Softball?
Illegal pitches in softball is any move made by the pitcher that violates the rules. Overhand pitching and moving back toes off the rubber are some violations.
The umpires are responsible for calling an illegal pitch. If a foul ball is called before the release, a dead-ball signal is given, and the play is stopped.
However, if the pitch is released before calling, the umpires must let the play go on until a non-contacted pitch reaches the plate or the play is completed.
Delivering a foul ball can be costly for the softball pitcher and their team. It can give an advantage to the opposing team or disrupt the pitcher's rhythm.
Some reasons why a pitch can be called illegal are:
- Violation of legal pitching position.
- Moving stride foot back after its initial set.
- Taking the signal improperly.
- Both feet not being within the 24-inch length of the pitching mound before pitching.
- The pivotal foot not being in contact with the mound, and the secondary not being behind the pitcher's box.
- Violation of the step/stride rule.
- Violation of the delivery rule.
- Violation of the windup rule.
- Not bringing the hands together in view of the umpire before the windup.
- Dropping, rolling, or bouncing the ball deliberately.
- Discontinuing the pitch improperly.
- Throwing to an unoccupied base from the pitcher's plate.
These are all mistakes that can occur from the pitcher's side. Sometimes, a pitch can be called illegal even if the pitcher throws a legitimate ball.
One such instance is when any infielder or outfielder is not inside the fair territory from when the pitcher steps on the mound until the ball is thrown. Another such instance is the catcher touching the ground outside the lines of the catcher's box in the home plate.
Further, if the pitcher's feet are not maintained at a specific distance within a lane from the mound, the ball is declared illegal according to the official rule book of the sport. This ensures the pitcher does not step out of the lane while pitching.
If the pitcher makes an extra revolution after releasing a ball or is not thrown underhand with the hand below the hip and the wrist not farther from the body than the elbow, an illegal pitch is called.
In addition, the pitch must be delivered on the side of the throwing arm of the body and not through or behind the back of the legs. Failure to do so will result in an illegal delivery.