Catch: Throw from Dead Ball Area


A.      If a fielder has one foot in dead-ball area, he may throw.  If he steps with both feet into that area the ball is dead.  5-1-1iB.      NCAA – The ball remains “in play” if a fielder with the ball steps into dead-ball territory unless he falls down or loses body control.  6-1d         If a fielder slides “intentionally, he has not lost body control.  6-1d AR 2                  Exception:  Unless ground rules dictate otherwise, a fielder may not throw from dead-ball territory.  Apparently some umpires believe the effect of 6-1d-1a/b is to allow a fielder to throw from DBT unless ground rules stipulate otherwise. Happily, that’s not an issue, as the BRD pointed out in 1996:  “Thurston ruled that the general procedure is:  A fielder may not throw from DBT.”  The ball is alive while the fielder is in DBT, and runners may advance at their own risk.  But the fielder, unless the ground rules allow it, must not throw until he steps with both feet into live-ball territory.  Also: Official Interpretation by Thurston:  Here is his proposed ground rule covering dead-ball areas:  “If a fielder makes a catch and then enters a dead-ball area with the ball, the ball is dead and runners DO NOT ADVANCE.  If the fielder INTENTIONALLY carries the ball into a dead-ball area, the ball is dead and runners advance one base from the time the ball becomes dead.  Also: PENALTY for an unauthorized throw from DBT:  The ball is dead, and the umpire awards all runners one base.  6-1d-1b Penalty.C.      OBR – Unless he falls down or loses body control, the fielder may throw from any dead-ball area.  5.10f; 7.04c Comment.  EVANS: “The critical factor in this ruling is the definition of falls.  A player may stumble, lean on a dugout wall, be supported by players from either team and teeter on a fence railing without actually falling.  This is a judgment call and the umpire must be alert and in position to judge the player’s status after catching a fly ball.” 5:35; 7:10

                PLAY – Near shallow right field a marked line curves around the unprotected bullpen.  A fielder in the                    DBT has a clear view of the field and would throw across the bullpen when trying to prevent a 

                runner’s advance.  In the 4th inning with no outs, R2 retouches 2nd as F9 catches B1’s can of corn.  The

                fielder’s momentum carries him across the line, where he: a) throws to F4, his cutoff man; or b) runs

                into live-ball area before throwing; or c) falls down attempting to throw.

                Ruling:  In FED, the ball is dead in all cases; award R2 third.  In NCAA, the result depends on the pre-

                game conference.  If an exception was not adopted:  In a) and c) the ball is dead and R2 is awarded

                3rd.  In b) the ball remains alive:  R2 advances at his own risk.  OR during the pregame conference, the 

                coaches may have agreed that dead-ball areas would be treated as in 6-1d.  In that instance, NCAA is 

                exactly like OBR, which is:  In a) and b) the ball remains alive.  In c) the ball is dead; The umpire  

                awards R2 3rd.


                PLAY -   NCAA only.  The dead-ball area described in the play above has been discussed at the pre-

                game meeting and Thurston’s ground rule adopted.  In the 4th inning with no outs, R2 retouches at 2nd

                as F9 makes the catch and then: a) runs several steps to cross into the dead-ball area; or b) is carried

                by his momentum completely across the line, where he 1) throws to his cutoff man; or 2) runs back to

                live-ball territory before throwing; or 3) stops and walks slowly back toward the diamond with the ball.

                Ruling:  In all cases, the ball is dead.  Then: In a) and b-1) R2 gets 3rd.  In b-2) and b-3) R2 remains on



                Note:  Thurston’s ground rule specifies that the ball becomes immediately dead when F9 steps into DBT;

                the fielder is prevented from making a play, as in b-2) above.  In the absence of Thurston’s or some 

                similar ground rule, though, unless the fielder falls down or loses body control, he may always return to 

                 live-ball territory before throwing. 

News Flash

*NW General Membership Meeting - TBD 2020

You are here: Home Larry's Corner Rules Area Catch: Throw from Dead Ball Area