Official Clarifies Seventh Inning Obstruction Call in WCWS Final

An NCAA official explained why OU catcher Lynnsie Elam was called for obstruction in the seventh inning on Tuesday against FSU.
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OKLAHOMA CITY — Game 1 of the national title series at the Women’s College World Series was won 8-4 by Florida State, but it wasn’t without controversy.

In the top of the seventh inning with the Seminoles leading Oklahoma 7-4, a play at home plate took center stage.

As Seminole baserunner Josie Muffley was waved home, Tiare Jennings’ throw to catcher Lynnsie Elam appeared to beat Muffley to the plate. But home plate umpire Don Brown called obstruction on Elam, awarding the run to Florida State.

Though the throw beat Muffley, NCAA Secretary Rules-Editor Vickie Van Kleeck said Elam’s knee hit the ground, justifying the obstruction call.

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“When the catcher put her knee down before catching the ball, that does constitute as blocking the plate because she cannot be in that position blocking the path of the runner or blocking the plate without possession of the ball,” Van Kleeck said in a pool report statement after the game. “Thus the obstruction call was made correctly.

“The runner has to be given an opportunity to reach the plate, and in this case with the knee down without the ball, that is why obstruction was charged to the catcher.”

The Sooners were unable to score in the bottom of the seventh, so the call didn’t ultimately cost them the game, but it flipped the momentum inside Hall of Fame Stadium to the Seminoles heading into the do-or-die bottom half of the inning.