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San Diego's Annual Over-the-Line Tournament

If you are, or will be, in or near San Diego during the weekends of July 12-13th or July 19-20th, check out San Diego's Annual Over-the-Line Tournament. This variation of baseball and softball has been played around San Diego's Mission Beach area since the 1950s. The Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC) of San Diego sponsors the annual charity tournament, which is held on Fiesta Island. The tournament draws colorfully-named three person teams from around the world.

The Rules

The game is played with official wooden softball or official wooden Little League bats and rubber softballs. The area of play consists of a triangle with an open-ended rectangle, which is marked off by ropes or by lines in the beach sand. The base of the triangle, "the line", measures 55' (17m). The apex of the triangle, or "home", is 55" (17m) from the line, and the sides of the rectangle extend at right angles from the line. The space beyond the line and between the sides of the rectangle is fair territory. Everything outside of the triangle and the area of fair territory is foul territory, including the ropes or lines marking the playing field.

The pitcher and the two batters belong to the same team. The batter bats from home, but must have one foot behind the apex of the triangle. The pitcher pitches from anywhere in front of the line, but not in the triangle. The three fielders from the opposing team must stay within fair territory and catch the ball in that area.

Batters score hits when a ball lands in fair territory without being caught by a fielder, when the fielder who catches the ball enters foul territory by either stepping on or beyond the lines marking fair territory, or when the fielder who catches the ball drops it. The batter scores a home run when a fly ball soars past the fielder farthest out in fair territory.

Batters are out when the ball lands inside the triangle, when a batter swings and misses (a strike), when a fielder catches the ball within fair territory without dropping it, when the batter fouls twice, when a batter bats out of order, or when either the pitcher or a batter touches but does not catch a struck ball. If either the pitcher or batter catches the struck ball, then it counts as if the ball had not been pitched. Foul balls result from balls that land in foul territory, from pitches that are taken, and from false pitches or "balks”. As in baseball or softball, three outs end the half-inning.

At the start of an inning or after a home run, it takes three hits to score a run because, in softball or baseball, it would take three single hits to get a runner on each base. Each hit after the first three scores an additional run. A home run also scores a run, and if there are preceding hits that did not score as runs, those then score as runs as well because any runners on base when a home run is hit would be able to run home.

The game ends when one team leads by 11 or more runs or when, after two additional tied innings, a tie is broken by the number of runs or hits. Runs take precedence over hits.

If You Attend

The tournament is free and open to all ages; however, the OMBAC feels that attendance is not appropriate for those under 18 because of the high-energy and festive atmosphere. Play begins at 7:30 AM and ends between 6:00 PM and sunset. Free shuttle pickups to the tournament end at 3:00 PM. Return shuttles stop at the end of play each day. Have fun at this unique event, but do observe the seven No "B"s: No Bottles, No Bicycles, No Bowzers (dogs), No Babies, No Boas, No Bad Attitudes, No Battles (fighting).

For more information about fun things to do around San Diego, visit www.sandiego.com/things-to-do