This article aims at giving a fair idea of the rules of pitching in baseball. The current seasons of college baseball have a few rules changed and below I have tried to cover as many basic rules as possible for the seasons 2019 and 2020.
This article gives you the basic idea of where the rules of pitching apply and how they work for different pitching situations.
Where Do These NCAA Pitching Rules Apply?
Athletes of 1,268 North American institutions and conferences are regulated by NCAA which is the short form for National Collegiate Athletic Association, a non-profit organization. The pitching rules of NCAA apply to many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada that organize the athletic programs. These rules not only apply to the colleges and universities but also to the games organized by this organization.
NCAA Baseball Pitching Rules
Before discussing the rules of pitching, we need to know that there are two legal pitching positions, the windup, and the set.
The windup position may be assumed by a pitcher when:
1.The pitcher has his hands together in front of the body;
2.The pitcher has hands apart (both arms or the throwing arm at the pitcher’s side) and directly deliver to the plate.
3. The pitcher has hands apart and then bring the hands together and then stop only to adjust the grip on the ball before going with the delivery to the plate.
The Pitching Rules
- The pitcher shall pitch to the batter immediately after moving any part of the body, with a runner on base,.
- When there is a runner on base, the pitcher may disengage from the rubber only so long no natural pitching motion with the body, legs or free foot has been initiated.
- When there is a runner on base, a throw may be initiated by the pitcher to that base without first disengaging the pivot foot from the rubber only so long no natural pitching motion has been initiated.
- Movement of the pitcher is not allowed from the windup position to the set position without disengaging the pivot foot from the rubber.
- The pitcher must step directly( i.e within a 45-degree angle that is measured from the pivot foot toward the base the pitcher is throwing to or a throw is being feinted )and gain ground toward a base to pick off a runner.
- A pitcher is not allowed to drop the heel of the free foot before disengaging the pivot foot from the rubber when stepping off the rubber.
- A penalty for any of these above-mentioned rules if broken can be called a balk with the bases occupied and with the bases unoccupied, no pitch shall be ruled by the umpire.
- “Running into the pitch” is an illegal pitch and can cause a penalty.
- The pitcher is committed to throw or feint a motion toward second base or pitch to home plate when the delivery is started by the pitcher from the set position, breaking this rule could cause a penalty.
- The pitcher may throw to any base to retire a runner, at any time before the natural pitching motion begins, provided before making the throw, a step that gains ground and is directed toward such base is taken.
- A ball is when the pitcher makes an illegal pitch with the bases unoccupied.
- When the pitcher breaks contact with the pitcher’s rubber by stepping backward and placing the pivot foot on the ground behind the rubber it automatically becomes an infielder.
- The pitcher must have the pivot foot of the pitcher must be touching the pitcher’s rubber when taking signs. The pitcher must use the windup to deliver the ball if the sign is taken in the windup position
- The pitcher must use the set position to deliver the ball if the sign is taken in the set position. The continuity is broken if the pitcher steps back off the pitcher’s rubber with the pivot foot. When the pitcher’s rubber is again touched by the pitcher, the appropriate delivery from the assumed stance must be used on the mound. Any other sign from other than a legal position is called a ball.
- An illegal pitch or quick pitch with the bases unoccupied cannot be made by the pitcher or else penalty will be called.
- The pitcher won’t be able to drop the ball Intentionally or unintentionally while in contact with the rubber
- The pitcher cannot delay the game at any time or a penalty will be imposed.
- The pitcher may go to the mouth while in the dirt area, if the pitcher is not in contact with the pitching rubber, however, the fingers must be wiped off by the pitcher before engaging the rubber. A ball will be called a penalty if this rule is violated.
- No foreign substance or moisture can be applied to the ball or to the pitching hand or fingers, or anything to deface the ball can be done. However, bare hands can be used to rub up against the ball.
- The pitcher cannot intentionally delay the game except to retire a runner by throwing the ball to players other than the catcher when the batter is in position. As a penalty, the pitcher can be ejected from the ground after the first warning.
- The pitcher cannot Intentionally pitch at the batter.
- No other garment can be worn with ragged, frayed or slit sleeves by the pitcher other than the uniform.
- No other glove can be worn under the regular glove. The helmet should be on glossy. No jewelry can be worn that can distract the umpire or batter.
- A jump or push forward off the pitcher’s plate by the pitcher is not allowed with his pivot foot and then bring his foot to the ground and make a second push-off just before delivering the pitch.
- While touching the pitcher’s plate, any feinting motion without completing the throw toward the batter or toward first or third base.
- A balk is called while touching the pitcher’s plate if the pitcher feints a throw
- A balk is also called when, if a pitcher feints a throw to any base from a pitching position and without breaking contact with the rubber throws to another base.
- If a pitcher, throws to any base to retire a runner while being at pitching position without first stepping directly toward such base; or feint a throw toward any base when it is not to retire a runner, a balk can be called.
- Balk can be also called if an illegal pitch like a quick pitch is made.
- If a pitcher unnecessarily delays the game, a balk can be caused.
- If the pitcher is not in possession of the ball and he stands with either foot or both feet on any part of the dirt area of the mound during a hidden-ball play
- attempt, it’s a balk.
- If a pitcher fails to throw to the batter immediately after making any movement with any
- part of the body, a balk is called.
- Either hand is taken off by the pitcher after having taken a stretch or set
- position unless making a pitch or throwing to any base
- While the catcher is not in the catcher’s box the pitcher pitches.
Both feet of the catcher should remain within the catcher’s box until the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand;
- More than two pumping motions are made from the windup position, by the pitcher
- before delivering to the plate, a balk is called.
- It is also considered a balk when the pitcher makes a natural pitching motion while the
- pitcher’s rubber is not being touched.
Different rules apply to different leagues. NCAA has specific rules that are applicable only on leagues organized by the organization and other college and university-based games. The players and the umpires should abide by the rules for a smooth game that is played in a fair manner.