Hey Blue: What is an ILLEGAL PITCH in ASA Softball?

By Bob Downey, Hanover LL UIC 2014

As mentioned in other articles, Hanover Little League’s girl softball teams play their regular season games under ASA rules.

 When a pitcher violates certain rules, the situation is deemed an ILLEGAL PITCH.  The Penalty that is imposed depends on the age group of play and the specific violation.  Penalties may be a warning, a BALL awarded to the batter, runners advanced one base, or the removal of the pitcher.

 Since runners are not allowed to lead until after the ball leaves a pitcher’s hand, balks are never called. 

 There are many acts which qualify as illegal.  Below are some of them.  Other ruling bodies such as USSSA, PIAA, PONY and Little League Softball have similar or identical criteria.

 - Stepping completely outside of the 24 inch pitching lane with one or both feet while in process of delivering a pitch.

- Stepping onto the pitcher’s plate with their hands together.

- Pitcher delivers a pitch while the catcher is not completely inside the catcher’s box

- Pitcher fails to bring their hands together for between 1 and 10 seconds  (however, most umpires will let this go as long as the hands are brought together during the delivery even if less than a second)

- Makes any pitching motion while on the mound without actually pitching the ball

- Brings hands together, separates them and then brings them back together while in act of pitching.

- Making more than two revolutions of the arm while in the act of pitching.

- The pitching hand must be below the hip and the wrist no farther away from the body than the elbow while delivering the pitch.

- Push of from a spot other than the pitchers plate.

- Perform a replant of the pivot foot prior to releasing the ball.

- Fail to drag the pivot foot after striding while delivering the pitch.

- Removing the pivot foot from the pitcher’s plate once starting the act of delivering the ball.

- Leaping during the delivery of the pitch.

- Improper positioning of the feet on the pitcher’s plate.

The ball is live until any action is complete.  If the ball is not put into play, TIME shall be called and a BALL is awarded to the batter, and all runners are awarded one base.  If the ball is put into play by a hit or wild pitch or passed ball, the offense has the option to accept the outcome of the play or accept the BALL and base awards, whichever they wish.