The Ole Ball Game

can batter runner go back toward home plate when fielder attempts to tag him?

Don asked: While coaching a high school game with a runner on first, batter hit ball up 1st base line 2 feet inside fair territory.


The pitcher fielded the ball and started toward batter runner,then realized runner from 1st headed to 2nd.

He started to turn to throw to 2nd but saw it would be too late and turned back toward batter runner who had continued toward 1st.

No tag and he started to throw the ball when the field umpire called my batter runner out for going back toward the plate.

I know the rule for high school is that it is legal for the batter runner to go back toward the plate as it is stated in the case book, that as long as he does not touch plate or go beyond the plate and does not leave the lane to avoid the tag it is legal.

I still lost the argument, but won anyway, so did not protest. However I can not find a ruling in the pro book. Is there a case book for pro rules that may have the same situation in it?
Thanks Don


Rick answered: Don, thank you for your question.

You are correct on the high school call for this rule.

A batter-runner can head back to home plate, as long as he stays in the base path, and does not touch or go beyond the plate.

We teach our players that, if you are about to be tagged on your way to first base, and it looks like the defense would have an opportunity to make the tag, then throw to a base and possibly get another out, stop and head back towards the plate.

Make the defense come and tag you, or, throw the ball to first base, for the out. Never know, they may throw it away. At the very least, no double play.

I believe the pro rule is the same. Don't know why it would be different.

You are not abandoning your effort to run the bases, you are avoiding a tag situation, as long a you stay in the baseline.


Yours in baseball,

Rick



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