Three rules revisions were made by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Softball Rules Committee regarding the pitcher-batter relationship at its annual meeting June 9-11 in Indianapolis. The rules changes subsequently were approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
The penalty for Rule 6-2-3 – a pitcher exceeding the 20-second time limit – is now a ball awarded to the batter, rescinding the previous penalty of an illegal pitch.
"The change makes a violation of the time to pitch by the pitcher consistent with a batter failing to be ready within 10 seconds after the ball has been returned to the pitcher," said Mary Struckhoff, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Softball Rules Committee. "An illegal pitch penalty is excessive as it also awards runners one additional base."
A revision to Rule 6-1-4d changes the pitching windup requirement to a maximum of 1½ clockwise revolutions. The change will benefit batters and umpires alike.
"More and more, pitchers are pushing the rule to the limit in an attempt to gain an advantage by deceiving the batter," Struckhoff said. "The change will make an illegal pitch, as it relates to the windup, easier to identify and enforcement more consistent."
The final adjustment to help create balance between offense and defense clarifies the definition of an attempted bunt. Rule 2-8-2 will be changed to state that holding the bat in the strike zone is considered an attempted bunt. In order to take a pitch, the batter must withdraw the bat backward away from the ball.
(For the rest of the story, check out this week's edition of the Cadiz Record.)