The Ole Ball Game

Can a runner steal second on a caught third strike less than two outs?

by cliff c.
(altamont ny)

Cliff asked: Runner is on first with one out.


Batter misses ball strike three and is out for second out.

With batter still standing in the box, runner leaves first for second base. Is this legal?

Is there any interference from the batter?


Rick answered: Cliff, thank you for your question.

Your question sounds like this situation occurred in a Little League game.

The rule which would cover it is 7.13 Little League Majors and Minor Leagues:

When a pitcher is in contact with the pitcher's plate and in possession of the ball, and the catcher is in the catcher's box ready to receive delivery of the ball, base runners shall not leave their bases until the ball has been delivered and has reached the batter.

As you work through the situation described,the pitcher had delivered a legal pitch, which was swung on and missed by the batter, for strike three, out number two.

Unless time gets called, the ball remains live after the catcher receives it, so the runner is able to leave his base.

It would only be interference by the batter if he in some way got in the way of the catcher attempting to make a play on the runner going to second base.

The interference would not have to be intentional. It could be as simple as walking across home plate, on his way back to the first base dugout.

If the batter is still standing in the box after his swing and does not restrict the catcher's ability to throw to second base, no interference.

Everything hinges upon whether time had been called as to whether or not the runner could run or whether interference could occur.

Yours in baseball,

Rick

Comments for Can a runner steal second on a caught third strike less than two outs?

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May 24, 2013
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Stealing third, less than 2 outs, on a strike three pitch
by: Anonymous

As long as the ball remains live, and the steal is a continuation of the pitch, the batter does not have to move.

With a continuous play, the catcher has to move himself to throw around the batter.

Should the batter move backwards, out of the box, into the path of the catcher attempting to throw, that would be interference.

The batter could go across the plate and not be called for interference, unless the catcher, for some reason, decided to try to come out in front.

That would be unusual.

Yours in baseball,

Rick

May 23, 2013
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Batter interference
by: Anonymous

Guy on second, and stills third. What does the batter have to do in this instance? Is he entitled to stay in the batter box or does he have to get out of the way so the catcher has clear path to throw down to third? When or what scenario would the batter be called for interference on steal?

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