I'm pretty sure we ended up getting this right last night, but I'm looking to make sure.
LL Juniors (90'). Bases loaded, 1 out. BR hits a sharp grounder just to the right of the mound. F1 jabs at the ball and sligtly deflects it (5 degrees or so). F4 who was charging the ball veers a little to make the play. R1, runs straight to 2nd and F4 has to pull up to avoid a collision with the runner (who never slowed or deviated from his path) causing F4 to miss the play on the ball.
Now, I was getting my rules mixed up a little while I was calling this play. I initially didn't call anything because I was in deflection mode. A runner HIT by a deflected ball is normally not out. However, I believe that if F1 deflects the ball and another infielder has a play on it that the runner still has to avoid interfering with the fielder.
Thinking we may have kicked it, I got together with my partner and we ended up ruling interference.
So, a couple of quickies:
1. Did we appropriately apply the rule here? I think we did (obviously).
2. If the runner had been HIT by the batted ball instead, would he have been out? Again, I'm thinking he would in this case.
Let's tear this apart.
F1 deflected the ball, and thus the defense had a chance to make a play. HOWEVER, anything through the pitcher's box--even if touched--would be scored a hit if the batter reaches first base (and no other play was made on the ball.) So I think we have to look elsewhere.
Sounds like R1 was NOT "direct back" of the fielder making a play (either F1 or F4). So that does not apply.
IMO, it seems that F4 had a bona fide chance to make a play and thus he is entitled to try. Fielders are given the right to make a play--even a GREAT play! I would have R1 out on the INT.
If R1 had been hit by a deflected ball, it's play on (if no other interference was the case.) It's no longer a "batted ball" in the context of the rule.
If the batted ball is deflected and then hits a runner the runner is noi out - ever.
If the batted ball goes through or within reach of a fielder and strikes the runner immediately behind the fielder the runner is not out unless another fielder had a play on the ball. If the batted ball goes through or within reach of a fielder and hits the runner 30 feet farther back - the runner is out.
Note the dirfference - deflected versus through or within reach. It's important.
A runner must avoid a fielder attempting to field a batted ball - period - always- even if the ball was deflected.