At a recent youth, 11U game, our pitcher was called for a balk because he changed his delivery/mechanics with a lead runner on 2B.
All from stretch position…
With no runner on 2B, or lead runner on 3B, his stride leg would come straight up, then straight towards the plate when delivering a pitch.
With a lead runner on 2B, he would bring his stride leg up and back towards 2B, closing his hips a lot more, give a stern look at the runner, then deliver the pitch. Obviously, this was to make the runner believe he was going to pick him off, making him hesitate to steal 3B. The umpires call this a balk. They said he was deceiving the runner.
I understand a lot of people believe the pitcher cannot deceive a base runner without committing a balk. However, it’s my understanding a pitcher can try to deceive a runner, as long as he doesn’t break any of the balk rules. I tried to find a balk rule that covers this scenario, but couldn’t. So, is it a balk? If so, what rule covers this? If not, how does one deal with umpires who call this a balk?