9U pick off move question

Sernario: Right handed pitcher, runner on second. Question: RH pitcher pitching from the stretch comes set, lefts his left leg does not break the plain of his right leg, while his left knee is high and parallel with the ground he twist on is right foot and steps off the mound in a direction that is between 3rd and SS, my question is this if the runner takes off for 3rd can the pitcher throw to 3rd or does he have to throw to 2nd or dont throw at all?

I think the answer is going to depend on a combination of a number of rules:

(1) You must step towards the base ahead of your throw.
(2) You cannot throw to an unoccupied base.
(3) You can fake a throw to any base other than 1B.

In your description, it sounds like the pitcher could have been perceived as stepping towards 3B. If so, and if 3B as unoccupied, then that could be an infraction. Unless the runner on 2B took off before the pitcher made his move in which case - I believe - throwing to 3B would be ok even though it was initially unoccupied. But need an umpire type to chime in here.

In any case, the pitcher could have spun all the way around and stepped towards 2B, faked the throw to 2B upon seeing the runner take off, and then thrown to 3B. Or, he could fake the throw and then take off running at (or slightly ahead of) the runner to push the runner back towards 2B and decreasing the distance of the throw (oreven applying a tag without a throw).

Of course, since this is 9u, the umpire might be real lenient and not enforce things very strictly.

If the pitcher is still engaged with the rubber, he can step toward 3rd base and throw to pick off the runner if the runner at 2nd commits to steal 3rd.
If the pitcher is engaged with the rubber and steps toward a base to make a throw to that base the move must be continuous.

If the pitcher disengages the rubber legally, (steps off) he can feint or throw to any base as long as its not interpreted as delaying the game.

If the pitcher’s front foot lifts and his foot crosses the back of the rubber while stil egaged with the rubber, he has two choices. Deliver the ball home or to second base.

When he stepped “between seond and third” was he engaged with the rubber or had he stepped off? Secondly, Did the runner break for third causing the step?

In 9 year old baseball calling balks is really hard and IMO pitchers should be given leniency and instructed as to what they’re doing wrong long before calling an actual balk, unless th pitcher and his coach are simply ignoring the rules.

If the pitcher is still engaged with the rubber, he can step toward 3rd base and throw to pick off the runner if the runner at 2nd commits to steal 3rd.
If the pitcher is engaged with the rubber and steps toward a base to make a throw to that base the move must be continuous.

If the pitcher disengages the rubber legally, (steps off) he can feint or throw to any base as long as its not interpreted as delaying the game.

If the pitcher’s front foot lifts and his foot crosses the back of the rubber while stil egaged with the rubber, he has two choices. Deliver the ball home or to second base.

When he stepped “between seond and third” was he engaged with the rubber or had he stepped off? Secondly, Did the runner break for third causing the step?

In 9 year old baseball calling balks is really hard and IMO pitchers should be given leniency and instructed as to what they’re doing wrong long before calling an actual balk, unless th pitcher and his coach are simply ignoring the rules.

Once the pitcher steps toward the occupied base and then disengages from the rubber he can run at the runner or throw to any base he chooses.

If the runner tries to steal you can throw to an unoccupied base. It is very common in 9 year old ball for runners to take off. Most coaches and some umpires don’t realize that you can throw to an unoccupied base if the runner commits to stealing that base. We had quite a few arguments over it and a few times I had to pull out my phone and show the umpires the rule.

I want to thank everyone for their replies.

You can throw to the unoccupied base once you disenguage the rubber. You can’t just step directly toward 3rd base and throw.

Yes you can. If the runner breaks to that base you can throw to that base while touching the rubber for the purpose of making a play.

Official Baseball Rule 8.05(d) provides that the pitcher be charged with a balk if, while in contact with the pitcher’s plate, he throws to an unoccupied base except for the purpose of making a play.
EXAMPLES:
(1) Runners on first and second, pitcher in set position. Runner breaks for third base and pitcher throws to third base.
Ruling: Legal play.

(2) Runners on first and second, pitcher in set position. Runner bluffs going to third base and pitcher throws to third base. However, runner did not go. Ruling: Balk.

[quote]Yes you can. If the runner breaks to that base you can throw to that base while touching the rubber for the purpose of making a play.
[/quote]

True. But be careful, the runners intent is often at the discretion of the umpire, unless there is clear commitment to third. What may appear as breaking for the base may be percieved by the umpire as a strong move into a seconday lead.

I’ve personally seen it happen.

[quote=“Turn 22”][quote]Yes you can. If the runner breaks to that base you can throw to that base while touching the rubber for the purpose of making a play.
[/quote]

True. But be careful, the runners intent is often at the discretion of the umpire, unless there is clear commitment to third. What may appear as breaking for the base may be percieved by the umpire as a strong move into a seconday lead.

I’ve personally seen it happen.[/quote]

Would it make sense to present this scenario to the umpire prior to the game? Just an FYI, we are a new team that has 5 tourneys(15 games) under our belt and in each of those games when the opposing team gets a runner on 2nd they steal 3rd on the next pitch, the runner literally starts running once our pitcher begins to left his left foot hence the reason I am researching pick off moves and balk rules.

[quote=“richardt22”][quote=“Turn 22”][quote]Yes you can. If the runner breaks to that base you can throw to that base while touching the rubber for the purpose of making a play.
[/quote]

True. But be careful, the runners intent is often at the discretion of the umpire, unless there is clear commitment to third. What may appear as breaking for the base may be percieved by the umpire as a strong move into a seconday lead.

I’ve personally seen it happen.[/quote]

Would it make sense to present this scenario to the umpire prior to the game? Just an FYI, we are a new team that has 5 tourneys(15 games) under our belt and in each of those games when the opposing team gets a runner on 2nd they steal 3rd on the next pitch, the runner literally starts running once our pitcher begins to left his left foot hence the reason I am researching pick off moves and balk rules.[/quote]

Definitely talk to the umps before the game, many times they may not know the rules. 9-10 year old ball are about the only ages you are going to see runners just take off. I coached a 9 majors team last year and at that age group you see it all because coaches can still manipulate the game. If an ump is used to calling 13 year old games and has to call a 9 year old game, he will see a lot things that he may have never seen before.

Our 2nd tournament of the season we were playing a team that took off as soon as the pitcher touched the rubber. Their coaches went nuts when we just tossed it over to third and got them out in a rundown. The umps let the opposing coach talk him into a balk and we had to stop the game and get the tournament director to change the call when I showed him the rule on my phone. Always have the rules bookmarked on your phone.

[quote=“razorbacker”][quote=“richardt22”][quote=“Turn 22”][quote]Yes you can. If the runner breaks to that base you can throw to that base while touching the rubber for the purpose of making a play.
[/quote]

True. But be careful, the runners intent is often at the discretion of the umpire, unless there is clear commitment to third. What may appear as breaking for the base may be percieved by the umpire as a strong move into a seconday lead.

I’ve personally seen it happen.[/quote]

Would it make sense to present this scenario to the umpire prior to the game? Just an FYI, we are a new team that has 5 tourneys(15 games) under our belt and in each of those games when the opposing team gets a runner on 2nd they steal 3rd on the next pitch, the runner literally starts running once our pitcher begins to left his left foot hence the reason I am researching pick off moves and balk rules.[/quote]

Definitely talk to the umps before the game, many times they may not know the rules. 9-10 year old ball are about the only ages you are going to see runners just take off. I coached a 9 majors team last year and at that age group you see it all because coaches can still manipulate the game. If an ump is used to calling 13 year old games and has to call a 9 year old game, he will see a lot things that he may have never seen before.

Our 2nd tournament of the season we were playing a team that took off as soon as the pitcher touched the rubber. Their coaches went nuts when we just tossed it over to third and got them out in a rundown. The umps let the opposing coach talk him into a balk and we had to stop the game and get the tournament director to change the call when I showed him the rule on my phone. Always have the rules bookmarked on your phone.[/quote]

Razorbacker, thank you for your insight. Just so I am clear, if the runner takes off and commits to stealing 3rd once my RH pitcher left foot starts his motion up, does he have to spin on the right foot and then step off or can he just step towards 3rd and throw him out or get him in a run down?

The pitcher can step toward the base and throw out the runner. No spin move or step off is required.

A Good idea is to go over the rules with the umpires before every game you play. Good umpires will go over the ground rules and may address other issues they have seen. If you have a question about rules or anything else, ask.

If I am getting this right you are going to ask your “9U” pitchers to, when then might see a runner break toward 3rd base from 2nd, not deliver the ball to home but then directly step toward 3rd base? I really think there are so many other things you could be and should be coaching 9U kids on. The move you are talking about takes a lot of baseball awarness, body control and luck I would think not to end up moving toward home, then the hope the umpire doesn’t call it a balk for stepping to an unoccupied base or it actually be a balk if in the opinion of the umpire the pitcher starts to move toward home and commit to pitch. I would take more time on keeping the runner off balance through timing, looks and throws to 2nd base.

I know I do this alot, but, I have to again agree with buwhite. There are too many variables. The others coaches are trying to force a balk and alot of times will succeed if they see indecision on the part of the pitcher or umpire for that matter.

I assume you’re playing 9U open baseball with 50 ft bases. If this is the case, it’s going to be difficult to stop the running game anyway. Again, like bu said, more benefit would come from keeping the runner close.

9U open baseball on such a small diamond is really tough on pitchers.

Wow, seems like it’s been a while since someone has agreed with me on this site…thanks.