Yesterday one of the members of my team had to duck away to avoid a 'hit by pitch', which would have been a ball. Instead, the ump called a strike, because he saw part of the bat going over the plate. My player had to strech his arms to avoid the hit by pitch. In doing so, the bat did go partly over the plate. He obviously had no intention to swing whatsoever.
Was the call correct?
As was mentioned the only way this should have been called a strike was if the umpire thought he was intentionally trying to hit the ball. The bat over the plate means nothing.
See the thread: Bunt - Strike or Not? http://community.active.com/thread/148730
I had a very similar sitch the other night. Batter ducked away, but the ball hit the bat. It went foul, and I ruled foul. Had to.
But in your case, if the umpire wants to ring up a strike because he believes there was a "swing", he must also judge it was a bona fide "offer" at the pitch.
Sounds to me (HTBT) that this was a defensive move by the batter to avoid getting clocked. Got to give every benefit to the batter.
Yeah, you rule on the merits of the pitch, but this sounds like it was clearly out of the zone. Should have been a ball. This was clearly NOT an offer.
Last year at Kutno in the Euro Regionals, I had a case where an inside pitch came in while the batter had squared to bunt. He jumped up right in front of me, so I was blocked out. He got HBP'ed. While the Polish nurse was applying cold CFC's to the kid's hands, I asked U1, "Did he offer at that pitch?" Answer: "Yes he did!"
Batter stayed at the plate with a strike to the count (and a sore hand.) But the Umpire crew had determined it was a bona fide offer and not a defensive crouch.
There is a judgeable difference!