Catch and Carry...

Situation - Less than 2 outs, runner on third, batter pops up to foul territory near 3rd base which catcher catches. Umpire "gives" runner on third home because the play carried catcher into 2'x4' area against fence where coaches sit in fold-up chairs (which they had obvvoiusly vacated quickly) which is considered "out of play". Is this the correct call? And if so (which I imagine it technically is since the area *was* designated out-of-play) - is this a FAIR interpretation of the rule? I imagine this rule was written with outfield play in mind since runners would technically have possible opportunity to tag and advance, but INFIELD??
Original Post
The location of the "out of play" area has nothing to do with where it is (outfield/infield). Each field can have its own ground rules. If the area was designated as an out of play area, prior to the game, then there is no question if it was fair or not to call it........
If that's the rule, that's the rule. As you say, whether the out of play area is 10 feet from home plate or not doesn't matter - I wonder if the rule shouldn't be cleaned up as it doesn't make sense to me to penalize a team for a great defensive play when there's absolutely no chance that the offensive team could have done anything catch or no catch. It almost seems like it's an infield fly (at the catch) and runners should advance at their own risk - not be given a free base.
Perhaps the player should have let pop up drop. Sometimes the hustle play can hurt you

Also let me say this-- we play every year on "away" fields, all with different "house" rules

You don't change them because the simple fact of the matter is that you can't-- you learn to adapt to them

Thats just the way it is
There is so much here to discuss... But lets first discuss the term "Catch and Carry". NFHS rules do not allow catch and carry. Catch and Carry is an OBR rule. The NFHS rule is commonly called "Straddle". If a player opts to catch and go into dead ball territory the dead ball award is in play...

Most dead ball areas in HS baseball are for safety reasons...made to keep a player from running into fences, or drainage or out of the field of play. Once an area is identified as a Dead ball area, the applicable award for entering is in effect. As an aside, Umpires dont "give" bases, the rules "award" bases. Small point possibly, but it is important.

Lets go to the rule:

NFHS rule 5 Section 1 Article 1 (i)
Ball becomes dead immediately when:

I: a fielder, after catching a fair or foul ball, leaves the field of play by stepping with both feet over any boundary or barrier such as a fence rope, chalk line, or a repgame determined boundary line.

So your player had the option of trying to make the catch with one foot in dead ball area to record the out and not violate dead ball space or let the ball drop foul.

As to changing the rule, the NFHS is constantly changing HS rules. But in this case, there is no reason why dead ball areas would be considered differently depending on where they are located, since the safety issue is the same no matter where the area. As a matter of fact, most of the serious dead ball areas I know of are in and around the infield or dugout areas...

Lastly the rule did not penalize the defensive team for entering dead ball area, they chose to enter the area to record an out. Possibly some coaching from the coaching staff seated in the dead ball areas might have been a better choice....the coach could have decided if the losing the run to get the out was a better baseball decision....
piaa_ump - thank you for your responses - I have been looking through other areas of the message board and you really take your time responding to questions and you express yourself very well so that those of us who are not as gifted in the rules area can understand them. In this case, yes, the out-of-play area was at the far end of the dugout towards third base. It was an area where most teams' coaches sit on buckets or coaches and players hang out lounging against the fence (and clear out when there's a play about to occur) so "habit" stepped in and everyone cleared out for the play - only then to be penalized for it! So this is really a case of live and learn. I know that next time our coaches will be more in tune with how the play might develop and help the defensive player decide whether to go for it or not.
Thank you for your kind words. I am only trying to repay the debt I owe to many of the posters on the HSBBW. I came here as the father of a young ballplayer who was looking to play on the college level. He attained that goal.

And now I remain as a resource for those looking for the advice or opinions of a working umpire. I do not pretend to be a rules expert, but I am a serious student of all the codes I am certified to call.

I try to respond to all questions and treat the basic or complex question the same way. I will try and supply the rule citation to back up my thoughts. Along with the other umpires who frequent this board (Michael Taylor and others) I want no one to feel intimidated to ask questions.....Its the only way for all of us to learn.

Please let me know what I can do for you.

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