Collisions at home plate are a lot like awkward run-ins at your high school reunion: unavoidable.
As fans, we're used to seeing the bang-bang plays that can end in tragedy (Google Buster Posey or Ray Fosse for context). Nobody ever wants to see that happen, which is why there have been countless rules enacted to help prevent these human fender benders from taking place.
Still, they happen. And when they do, it's usually controversial.
This collision in a UNC-Ohio State game this season was certainly controversial, but it also showed just how tough these girls are.
UNC Catcher Hangs On in Controversial Collision
That's University of North Carolina senior catcher Taylor Greene. She's tough as nails behind the plate, and this play is proof of that. The UNC softball Instagram account posted this on Monday but it was actually from a game against Ohio State in February.
When an Ohio State runner was rounding third and heading home, the throw from centerfield took Greene up the line a bit and she absorbed a massive blow from the runner. She hung on and originally looked to be out, but the umpire called obstruction on the play, ruling that Greene illegally impeded the runner's ability to score.
But was that the correct call? Let's dive in.
According to section 9.5.1 of the NCAA softball rulebook, "obstruction occurs when a defensive player, neither in possession of the ball nor in the act of fielding a batted ball, impedes a batter's attempt to make contact with a pitch or impedes the progress of any runner who is legally running bases on a live ball."
It goes on to say that "it is obstruction if a defensive player is blocking the whole base/plate or base path without the ball and/or the runner does not have a path to the base/plate."
Now, here's the moment Greene catches the ball:
She's clearly in possession of the ball just before the runner arrives, but she's nowhere near the plate and is arguably not giving the runner a path to home, which the runner is entitled to. A split-second later, Greene's left leg completely sweeps in front of the runner, leaving her no choice but to lay her out.
What's interesting about the interpretation of the rulebook is the part where it says this: "Once in possession of the ball, the defensive player can be positioned between the runner and the base/plate."
To me, there's a real case for the UNC side that she caught the ball just before the runner got there, then positioned herself in between her and the base. According to the rules, that should be legal.
The umpire didn't see it that way. Of course, this is no easy call to make in real-time, but it's a call that can affect the outcome of a game, so it's got to be correct.
Regardless, there's no debate Taylor Greene is one tough girl for hanging on.
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