On the Scene: Keeping Time at WBSC Women's Championship

(ATR) Speeding up play at the Women’s Baseball World Cup, weather permitting.

(ATR) The favorites remain undefeated while the Dominican Republic wins its first game in the history of the Women's Baseball World Cup.

The eighth edition of the championship is underway in Viera, Fla. Round robin play runs through Aug. 26 with the finals Aug. 28 to 31. The tournament is organized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation.

Weather remains an annoyance. Lightning and rain led to delays on the first day of competition. Same goes for day two at Space Coast Stadium, delaying games for more than two hours.

The U.S.-Netherlands game Thursday ended near midnight. About four dozen fans of the Orange applauded each out achieved by their team as if the championship was on the line. The U.S. prevailed 18-0.

A digital clock on the third base line is a new addition to this world cup, meant to help speed up play. The WBSC is testing new rules involving time limits between pitches, innings and other measures. Replay is now being used for the first time on disputed calls.

There have been some international matches which have tested the patience of players, officials and fans. At the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Cuba and Chinese Taipei took five hours to play the gold medal game won by Cuba 11-1.

"But that game was with an aluminum bat, and now wood is used, and that helps make the game less slow," Gustavo Rodriguez, head of arbitration for the WBSC tells Around the Rings. Rodriguez arrived in Florida from the Asian Games in Jakarta where he conducted a briefing on the rules for baseball officials in Asia.

After two days of the Women’s World Cup, Rodriguez says that six plays have been reviewed so far following appeals by managers. Two were successful, but the other four were rejected. Plays at first base and home are the most common source of appeals.

Each team manager opens the games with a single opportunity to appeal. If unsuccessful, no further challenge is allowed until the sixth inning. If successful, the manager still retains an opportunity to make another appeal.

In addition to video replay, a time limit of 12 seconds between pitches and 90 seconds between innings is the rule.

The 12 second rule between pitches (with no batters on base) has been in place for some time by the WBSC. The novelty at this tournament is the clock at third base instead of a stopwatch operated by one of the umpires.

Penalties for noncompliance include a warning for the first time, a ball in favor of the batter in case the pitcher is the offender, or a strike in favor of the pitcher if the batter causes delay by standing outside the box.

August 23 results: Japan 23 Hong Kong 0, Venezuela 10 South Korea 4, Dominican Republic 9 Australia 6, Canada 10 Cuba 7, USA 18 Netherlands 0, Puerto Rico 9 Chinese Taipei 6.

ATR coverage of the Women’s Baseball World Cup is made possible in part with support from the World Baseball Softball Confederation.

Reported in Viera, Fla. by Miguel Hernandez.

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