If I had this play, I think I would have to vomit before making the call. This is a high school play.
NFHS rule 2-22-3 states obstruction happens when
The fielder without possession of the ball denies access to the base the runner is attempting to achieve.
In this video, the catcher was clearly in the runner’s path without possession of the ball. In pro ball, the fielder can be in the path as he is fielding a throw. An argument could be made that this would not be obstruction under that definition – but this is a high school game. This is clear obstruction.
The runner slides into the catcher and then the catcher reaches out, catches the ball, and tags him.
The penalty for obstruction is the umpire placing runners where he/she feels they would obtained minus the obstruction. In high school, there is a minimum one base reward.
The penalty is pretty clear in this case – the runner gets home.
I like how the official consulted with his partner to make sure the call was right. I also like how they controlled the field as they had their conference. Also, I love how the base umpire did not throw his partner under the bus when the coach came to argue the final ruling. He clearly is telling him to go to the calling official.
One minor thing that would have saved the umpire some grief was the original call of out. He does signal out and then immediately signal the obstruction and award. If he would have just signaled the award first, there would have been less confusion.
The fans can be heard arguing “but you called him out”. Of course this does not matter in the final outcome, but it would saved some grief.
Lastly, I loved the umpire’s timing on this. He was very calm, poised and got the call right in the end.
In professional baseball, this could be Type A obstruction. This is covered on page 63 of RuleGraphics.