The Ole Ball Game

Force out to end the inning but another runner scores and the run is counted.

by David Martin
(Decatur, AL)

David asked: The situation is there is One out in the inning with base runners on both first and third base.


The batter hits a fly ball to right field which is caught for out number Two.

The outfielder relays the ball to the shortstop to prevent the runner from first base advancing via a legal tag-up and advance.

The runner from first base had already started advancing bases without performing a legal tag-up so the shortstop threw the ball to the first baseman, who tagged first base and the runner was ruled out for the Third out of the inning.

Meanwhile, the runner from third base had actually performed a legal tag-up and he had advanced and crossed home plate before the shortstop threw to first base to record the final out of the inning, on what I deemed a force out.

The umpire allowed the run to count. His reasoning was that although it could be considered a force out, that the play was actually a live appeal play thus not preventing advancement of other runners.

Since the runner from third had indeed crossed home plate before the final out, his team was credited with that run.

Although still unsure myself, I felt the run should not have counted because the third out was recorded on a force out play. What do you think?


Rick answered: David, thank you for your question.

Rule 8-2 Section 2 Touching, Occupying and Returning to a Base

k. Third out base running infraction. If a base running infraction is the third out, runs scored by the following runner(s) would not count. With two outs, if the base missed was the first to which the batter or runner was forced to advance, no runners would score. When a runner is legally returning after a fly ball has been caught, he can be put out by being tagged with the ball by a defensive player or merely by the defensive player with the ball touching the base occupied by the runner at the time of the pitch.

It doesn't sound like this play ever became an appeal situation. It was all continuous action, with the runner from first base becoming the third out of the inning, on a base running infraction.

Whether the defense tagged the runner with the ball, or tagged first base while in possession of the ball, it was all a part of the play, which started with the fly ball to right field, for out number 2.

There is also a section on tag ups: If a runner leaves a base too soon on a caught fly ball and returns in an attempt to retag, this is considered a time play and not a force out. If the appeal is the third out, all runs scored by runners in advance of the appealed runner and scored ahead of the legal appeal would count.

Your description didn't sound like any appeal was started. The third out was made on a tag or force out at first base, with no appeal, thus no runs would score.

Hope that helps some.

Yours in baseball,

Rick

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May 21, 2017
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3rd out NEW
by: John E.

The call would be correct. Just because you were not required to tag the runner in that situation does not mean it's a force out. What's the Flop ball is called the force out is removed.

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