Balk Information

[Excerpt from Little League Baseball Rules]

8.05 – An illegal pitch (A balk in Junior/Senior/Big League baseball) when a runner or runners are on base is when:

  • (a) the pitcher, while touching the plate, makes any motion naturally associated with the pitch and fails to make such;
  • (b) the pitcher, while touching the plate, feints a throw to first base and fails to complete the throw;
  • (c) the pitcher, while touching the plate, fails to step directly toward a base before throwing to that base; the pitcher, while touching the throws, or feints a throw to an unoccupied base, except for the purpose of making a the pitcher makes a quick pitch; Umpires will judge a quick pitch as one delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter’s box;
  • NOTE: A quick pitch is an illegal pitch. Junior/Senior/Big League: With runners on base penalty is a balk; with no runners on base, it is a ball. (See exceptions in “PENALTY.”)

  • (f) the pitcher delivers the ball to the batter while not facing the batter; the pitcher makes any motion naturally associated with the pitch while not touching the pitcher’s plate;
  • (h) the pitcher unnecessarily delays the game;
  • (i) the pitcher, without having the ball, stands on or astride the pitcher’s plate or while off the plate feints a pitch;
  • (j) the pitcher, while touching the plate, accidentally or intentionally drops the ball;
  • (k) the pitcher, while giving an intentional base on balls, pitches when the catcher is not in the catcher’s box. In the situations noted above, in Little League (Majors) or Minor League, it is an illegal Ditch even when runner(s) is not on base.
    NOTE: There is no balk in little League (Majors) or Minor League. PENALTY: The pitch shall be called a ball. If a play follows the illegal the manager of the offense may advise the plate umDire of a decision to decline the illegal pitch penalty and accept the election shall be made immediately at the end of the play. However, if the batter hits the ball and reaches first base safely, and if all base­ runners advance at least one base on the action resulting from the batted ball, the play proceeds without reference to the illegal pitch. NOTE: A batter hit by a pitch shall be awarded first base without reference to the illegal pitch.
  • (l) Junior/Senior/Big League only: The pitcher, after coming to a legal position, removes one hand from the ball other than in an actual pitch, or in throwing to a base;
  • (m) Junior/Senior/Big League only: The pitcher delivers the pitch from the set position without coming to a stop.
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    JUNIOR/SENIOR/BIG LEAGUE PENALTY: The ball is dead, and each runner shall advance one base without liability to be put out unless the batter reaches first on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batter or otherwise, and all other runners advance at least one base in which case the play without reference to the balk. When a balk is called and the pitch is delivered it will be considered neither a ball nor strike unless the pitch is ball four (4) awarding the batter first base and forcing all runners on base to advance. (NOTE: Umpires should bear in mind that the purpose of the balk rule is to prevent the pitcher from deliberately deceiving the base runner. If there is doubt in the umpire’s mind, the “intent” of the pitcher should govern. However, certain specifics should be borne in mind:

  • (1) Straddling the pitcher’s plate without the ball is to be interpreted as intent to deceive and ruled a balk.
  • (2) With a runner on first base, and the runner attempting to steal second, the pitcher may make a complete turn, without hesitating toward first, and throw to second. This is not to be interpreted as throwing to an unoccupied base.
  • APPROVED RULING: If the pitcher violates (a) through (m) in this rule and throws wild to a base, the runner or runners may advance at their own risk. (Delayed dead ball.)
    APPROVED RULING: A runner who misses the first base to which that runner is advancing and who is called out on appeal shall be considered as having advanced one base for the purpose of this rule.

    [end of excerpt]