Clearing up Hamilton pitching questions

May, 30, 2009
Georgia's Christie Hamilton was called for an illegal pitch in the second inning of Saturday's game against Missouri. A right-handed pitcher who lines up at the far right edge of the pitching rubber, Hamilton uses the full width of the pitching lane (marked by two parallel white lines extending from each edge of the rubber) to get extra leverage on her pitches, landing at the left edge of the rubber when she releases the ball.

Speaking to a pool reporter from the AP after the game, Dee Abrahamson, the NCAA softball secretary rules editor, addressed the subject.

"The rule has been, for a long time, that the pitcher has to step toward the plate," Abrahamson said. "We really haven't changed the rule; what we did was added the lines to the pitching lane. These help remind the pitcher of where they are supposed to be and also assist umpires in making the call. It's more of a learning tool than anything else because it hasn't changed the way they pitch. They're supposed to stride forward. By putting those lines in, they need to stride that way. Some part of their foot has to be on or behind the line. No part of their foot can be completely outside the line."

Abrahamson said she felt the rule was properly enforced in the game.

Graham Hays covers college sports for espnW, including softball and soccer. Hays began with ESPN in 1999.



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