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Other night my guy singles to RF and is on base.  The other team Pitcher and 1B come together then separate - I think nothing of it because it was quick.  Pitcher engages the rubber and my guy takes his lead.  All of a sudden the 1B tags him and starts celebrating.  After it sank in what they did I said that it was a balk.  Umps talked for a second and we did get the call with my runner getting second.

1. Is this actually a balk or would it fall under the illegal pitch rule?

2. After listening to some of the fans behind me talk about how it was the wrong call I was thinking that the Pitcher doesn't have to be engaged with the rubber for this to be illegal but not sure.  Is it 3 feet from the rubber / on the dirt for this to be illegal?

You could tell these kids came up with it on their own and I give them props for doing that on their own.  But as the other coach I'm glad they didn't know the rule LOL

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. Thomas Jefferson

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It all depends on which rules code you're playing under:

  • NFHS / FED  (High School): Within about 5' of the rubber
  • NCAA: On the dirt
  • OBR: On or astride the rubber

NFHS 6-2-5

It is also a balk if a runner or runners are on base and the pitcher, while he is not touching the pitcher’s plate, makes any movement naturally associated with his pitch, or he places his feet on or astride the pitcher’s plate, or positions himself within approximately five feet of the pitcher’s plate without having the ball.

NCAA 9-3-f

While not in possession of the ball, the pitcher stands with either foot or both feet on any part of the dirt area (circle) of the mound during a hidden-ball-play attempt.

OBR 6.02(a)(9) 

If there is a runner or runners (on base), it is a balk when the pitcher, without having the ball, stands on or astride the pitcher’s plate or while off the plate, he feints a pitch.

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