NCAA panel approves experimental double first base rule in softball

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The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel gave the go-ahead Thursday for teams to begin experimenting with a double first baseman next season.

The base, used in amateur leagues and during the Olympics, is twice the normal size, with half in the field of play for the first baseman and half in the path of the base for the runner.

In theory, the oversized bag would reduce crashes.

The basic specifications and rules will be presented later. Both teams would have to agree to use the experimental base during spring games or fall competitions and submit a waiver request.

Teams would then have to collect data on its use to provide to the NCAA Softball Rules Committee.

The Texas coach, Mike Whitewho is on the Rules Committee, said in June that using double base in the college game would be “a good thing.”

“I remember a regional we had at home when I was with Oregon against Minnesota with their player [Sara] Groenewegen, who was a hitter and a pitcher, who was in a collision and had a concussion from a throw down the line,” White said. “I think if you look at baseball, they don’t have it, but they’re 90 feet. We only have 60 feet. Many of the players are close. They are boom-boom. I just think it’s something we should bring.”

White said that he had read a study in which the umpires were in favor of double base. But some coaches feel indifferent towards the idea.

Patty Gasso of Oklahoma, whose Sooners won the Women’s College World Series in a row, said she “doesn’t lean one way or the other.”

“I certainly don’t want people to get hurt, but it’s never really, that I can remember, affected our show in that way,” he said.

Oregon State coach, Laura Berghe said on the WCWS: “Without a doubt, we need it 100%.”

“I’d love to,” the Oregon State infielder said, Frankie Hammoude. “Actually, in that year of COVID, I had an injury with a collision at first base, so if there had been a safety bag, it probably would have ended a little bit differently.

“I don’t see why we should do it any different at the international level and all the others, almost all the other levels.”


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