Rule 9 - Dead Ball - Ball in Play


The ball is dead and not in play in the following circumstances:

a. When the ball is batted illegally.

b. When the batter steps from one box to another when the pitcher is taking the signal, or appears to be taking the signal from the pitcher’s plate.

c. When “No Pitch” is declared.

d. When a pitched ball touches any part of the batter’s person or clothing whether the ball is struck at or not.

e. When a foul fly ball is not caught.

f. When the offensive team causes interference.

g. When a fair batted ball strikes an umpire, or runner:

a) Before touching a fielder, including a pitcher, and
b) Before passing a fielder, other than the pitcher, without being touched.

NOTE: When a runner is hit by a fair, untouched batted ball while in contact with their base (unless they intentionally interfere with the ball or a defensive player making a play), the ball may be ruled dead or remain live, depending on the position of the fielder closest to the base.

h. When the ball is outside the established playing limits of the playing area.

i. When an accident to a batter-runner or runner prevents him from proceeding to the awarded base, he may be substituted.

1) The substitute will be allowed to proceed to any awarded bases.
2) The substitute must legally touch all awarded or missed bases not previously touched.j. When the batter bunts or chops a pitched ball.

k. When the umpire calls “Time”.

l. When any part of the batter’s person is hit with his own batted ball, while still in the batter’s box.

m. When a runner runs bases in reverse order, either to confuse the fielders, or to make a travesty of the game.

n. When the coach near third base runs in the direction of home plate, on or near the baseline, while the fielder is attempting to make a play on a batted or thrown ball and thereby draws a throw to home plate.

o. When one or more members of the offensive team stand or collect at, or around, a base to which a runner is advancing, thereby confusing the fielders and adding to the difficulty of making a play.

p. When a runner fails to keep contact with the base to which he is entitled, until a legally pitched ball reaches home plate.

q. After each strike or ball.

r. When an obstructed runner is called out.

s. When a blocked ball is declared.

t. When a batter enters the batter’s box with, or uses, an altered bat.

u. When a batter enters the batter’s box with, or uses, an illegal bat.

v. When, with less than two out and any time a runner is on first base, a fielder intentionally drops a fair fly ball (including a line drive) that could be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, after it is controlled with a hand or glove.

NOTE: If an infield fly is ruled, it has precedence over an intentionally dropped ball.

w. When a fielder carries or causes a live ball to go into dead ball territory.

x. When “Time” has been called and a defensive player is making an appeal.

y. When the batter fails to enter the batter’s box within 10 seconds after the umpire calls “Play Ball.”

z. When any person, other than a team member, enters the playing field and creates interference.

aa. When a spectator interferes with a live ball within the area of the playing field.

bb. When the batter-runner steps back toward home plate to avoid or delay a tag by a fielder.

EFFECT – Sec. 1a-bb: Runners cannot advance on a dead ball, unless forced to do so by reason of the batter having reached first base as entitled to, or they are awarded a base, or bases.


The ball is in play in the following circumstances:

a. At the start of the game and each half inning, when the pitcher has the ball while standing in his pitching position and the plate umpire has called ‘’Play Ball.”

b. When the infield fly rule is enforced.

c. When a thrown ball goes past a fielder and remains in playable territory.

d. When a fair ball strikes an umpire or runner on fair ground after:

1) Passing a fielder, excluding the pitcher, and no other fielder had a chance to make an out; or
2) Touching a fielder, including the pitcher.

e. When a fair ball strikes an umpire on foul ground.

f. When the runners have reached the bases to which they are entitled, after the fielder illegally fields a batted, thrown or pitched ball.

g. When a runner is called out for passing a preceding runner.

EXCEPTION: When a runner is called out for passing a preceding runner while the ball is dead, the ball will remain dead.

h. When no play is being made on an obstructed runner, the ball shall remain live until the play is over.

i. When a fair ball is legally batted.

j. When a runner must return in reverse order, while the ball is in play.

k. When a runner acquires the right to a base, by touching it before being put out.

l. When a base is dislodged, while runners are progressing around the bases.

m. When a runner runs more than 0.91 m (3 ft.) from a direct line between a base and the next one in regular or reverse order, to avoid being touched by the ball in the hand of a fielder.

n. When a runner is tagged or forced out.

o. When the umpire calls the runner out for failure to return and touch the base when play is resumed after a suspension of play.

p. When a live ball appeal play is legally being made.

q. When the batter hits the ball.

r. When a live ball strikes a photographer, groundskeeper, policeman, etc., assigned to the game.

s. When a fly ball has been legally caught.

t. When a thrown ball strikes an offensive player.

u. If the batter drops the bat and the ball rolls against the bat in fair territory and, in the umpire’s judgement, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, the batter is not out.

v. When a thrown ball strikes an umpire.

w. Whenever the ball is not dead, as provided in Section 1 of this rule.

x. When a thrown ball accidentally strikes a coach.

y. As long as there is a play as a result of a hit by the batter. This includes a subsequent appeal play.

z. When a runner is called out, for getting a running start from a base on any fly ball.

aa. When a runner abandons a base, does not attempt to advance to the next base, enters his team area, or leaves the field of play and is called out.

bb. When a runner is called out for being physically assisted by anyone other than another runner.

EXCEPTION: When assisted on a foul ball not caught, the ball will remain dead.


There are four situations when a violation of the rule occurs. An umpire recognizes it and the ball remains live until the conclusion of the play. These situations are:

a. An illegal pitch. (Rule 6)
b. Catcher’s obstruction. (Rule 8, Sec. 1d)
c. Obstruction. (Rule 8, Sec. 7b)
d. Detached equipment contacting a thrown ball, a pitched ball, or a fair-batted ball. (Rule 8, Sec. 7d)

Until the umpire calls “Time”, which should be done when the ball is held by a player in the infield area and, in the opinion of the umpire, all play has ceased.