SITUATION: Fast Pitch and Slow Pitch - The batter steps up to the plate and the pitcher signals to the catcher. The catcher turns to the umpire and says, “Put the batter on”. The umpire signals dead ball and awards the batter first base. Is this correct procedure?
RULING: In slow pitch, this would be the correct procedure. In fast pitch, it is not. A couple of our Allied Members in Fast Pitch are experimenting with going back to the No Pitch - Intentional Walk but we, in USA Softball, still must pitch to the batter until the four balls for a walk are ruled on.
USA Softball Rules: Rules Supplement 31 – Intentional Walk (Fast Pitch) – The ball is live during an intentional walk in Fast Pitch. All defensive players must be in fair territory until the pitch is released, except the catcher who must remain in the catcher’s box and the pitcher who must be in a legal pitching position at the start of each pitch. If the defensive players do not position themselves in fair territory, an illegal pitch should be called each time a pitch is made while a member of the defense is standing in four territory. All four pitches must be thrown to the catcher.
Rules Supplement 32 – Intentional Walk (Slow Pitch) – An intentional walk is permissible and occurs during a dead ball. A pitch is not required and the intentional walk starts by the defensive team notifying the plate umpire of their intent. The umpire should call time out and award the batter first base without liability to be put out. A possible appeal on a previous play is nullified. When two successive batters are walked intentionally, the second walk may not be administered until the first batter reaches first base.
Rule 8, Section 1C3