Widespread Confusion Unfolds As College Baseball Game Ends With Bizarre Catcher’s Balk In 11th Inning

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Tuesday night’s college baseball game between St. John’s and Fairfield saw the winning run scored in bizarre fashion. The Red Storm won on a catcher’s balk in the 11th inning.

What is a catcher’s balk?

A regular balk is defined, by the MLB, as occurring when “a pitcher makes an illegal motion on the mound that the umpire deems to be deceitful to the runner.” A catcher’s balk is not too dissimilar.

Although there is not a formal definition, it might be better stated as catcher’s interference. It occurs when a catcher makes an illegal motion or contact that could impede the game.

That latter is what occurred in Connecticut.

The Stags and Red Storm went to the 11th inning tied at four. Fairfield pitcher Grant Smeltzer delivered his 1-0 offering with one out and one runner on third.

It was a ball in the dirt, away.

Catcher Tyler Kipp blocked the passed ball and kept it in front of the plate to avoid the runner scoring. However, while regathering the ball to throw it back to Smeltzer, Kipp used his catcher’s mask to touch the ball.

The home plate umpire caught the illegal use of the mask right away and quickly called the interference. By rule, if a runner is on base, then the penalty for interference is a balk.

Hence, a catcher’s balk.

A balk results in the advancement of each runner on base by one base.

In this instance, with a runner on third, the advancement led to a run being scored. That run ended up putting St. John’s ahead 5-4, a score that stood through the bottom half of the inning.

The Red Storm beat the Stags on a catcher’s balk!

This is not the first time that this happened. Back in 2021, Giants catcher Curt Casali stopped the ball with his mask and was called for the same penalty.

A catcher’s balk, as rare as it is, makes for complete chaos every time. Nobody knows what is going on, and everybody is left confused. For St. John’s, though, it couldn’t have worked out any better!

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.


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