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May 24, 2017

Over the Line - OTL 101

With our three weeks of guests it’s always fun to take in a variety of SoCal experiences, and keep it interesting and fresh for us too.  My kid brother had not been to an Over the Line (OTL) tournament before.  Time to change that.  OTL began in San Diego and remains a SoCal tradition.

The spot finds its roots on the sand of South Mission Beach where lifeguard Ron “Fox” LaPolice first devised the game in 1953.  He has the most famous (and consistent) stride in the game, 20 LaPolice steps marked the line and 22 steps the width of the court.  Later the courts were marked with ropes and narrowed to a 20 LaPolice steps, but still remain infinite in length.

LaPolice was also a co-founder of the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC), which still holds various local tournaments including the OTL World Championships each July on Fiesta Island.  OTL has grown from 6 friends with a bat and ball to a limit of 1200 international teams at the World Championships.  Nephew Joey will be playing again this year.

Pitching is an art, just a soft toss to the batter on your own team.  The batter must hit the ball ‘over the line’ to be a fair ball.  A ball that lands in the sand past the line is a hit.  A ball that lands short of the line inside the ‘pie’ is an out.  A ball that lands outside the field of play is foul, two foul balls is an out.  Three hits scores 1 run.  A ball that lands past the last defense person is a home run and clears the bases.  A ball caught by the defense is an out.  A swing-and-a-miss is an out – there are no strikes.
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Yes gals can play too.  The pitcher shows the batter where to expect the ball and then a gentle toss to that location.  The batter uses a golf swing to place the ball over the line, out of reach of the defense.
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The scorekeeper must keep track of not only runs and outs, but also hits (home run is a hit) as hits might be counted if a tie-breaker is needed.
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And the gals can wear gloves, but the guys must play defense without them.
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There are official balls and bats that are used in the OMBAC tournaments, but a softball and wooden bat is all that’s needed for fun or practice.
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The main scoreboard will show teams on the court and the up-next team.  The ladder shows the winner of the last game and when the next game will be scheduled.
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The World Championships are the 2 weekends following July 4th.  If you are in San Diego either the weekend of July 8th or July 15th 2017, it is indeed a unique stop (rated PG18).  This is a free public event, beverages and souvenirs are available.  Just remember the “B” rules, as they are strictly enforced:
The No “B”s: No Bottles, No Bicycles, No Bowzers (dogs), No Babies, No Boas, No Bad Attitudes, No Battles (fighting)

Enjoy the game!

I’ll put up a collage of some things we did with the guests next, maybe you’ll find something fun for your next visit.  But, for now it is time that we really get into finalizing this year’s road trip as it is just a couple weeks away.

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