Ask the Ump!


QUESTION: In high school, baseball and softball, are adult coaches required to wear batting helmets in coaching boxes?

ANSWER: In both sports, National Federation rules do not require coaches to wear helmets. National rules require helmets to be worn by on-deck batters, batters, runners, retired runners, players / students in coaching boxes as well as non-adult bat / ball shaggers. (BB- Rule 1, Sec. 5, Art. 1; SB- 1, Sec. 6, Art. 2 & 3). In (NJSIAA baseball only),any adult coaching in first or third base box must wear a helmet; it may have single or double ear flap or traditional hard shell with visor and no flaps. (NJ adopted)

QUESTION: Batter receives a ball four walk, touches first base and exchanges batting helmet with first base coach. Is batter called out for safety violation?

ANSWER: During this live ball play, batter is NOT called out. For initial violation by team, head coach receives a warning. On subsequent violation by same team, violator will be ejected (BB only- Rule 1, Sec.5, Art. 1, Pen.). In (SB), for subsequent helmet violations by same team, violator and head coach will be restricted to bench. (Rule 1-6-1&2; Rule 3, Sec.6, Art. 1, Pen.) In both sports, batter will NOT be called out for infraction.

QUESTION: In high school baseball and softball, can a player use a baseball bat during a softball game?

ANSWER: Both sports have specific limitations as per size, weight, length and composition. In softball, a bat shall not exceed 2 ¼ in. in diameter while in baseball a wood bat is limited to 2 ¾ in. and a non-wood bat limit is 2 5/8 in. at thickest part. Both sports also have (ASA) or (BBCOR) performance standards; hence, it is not legal to use a baseball bat in a softball game. (BB- Rule 1, Sec. 3, Art. 2 and 3; SB- Rule 1, Sec. 5, Art. 1, d).

QUESTION: Can fielders wear a first baseman’s mitt while on defense?

ANSWER: Fielders, in both sports, must wear gloves / mitts as long as it conforms to max. specs in height, width and webbing. Catchers may wear gloves / mitts of any size. (BB- Rule 1, Sec. 3, Art. 6; SB- Rule 1, Sec. 4 Art. 1 & 2). A first baseman’s mitt is allowed to be used for fielders.

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