The Ole Ball Game

Hit or FC?

by Max
(Castle Rock, CO)

Max asked: Runner on 1B, high fly ball is hit behind the shortstop between him and the left center field gap.


It isn't 100% clear that the SS will not be able to make a play on it. The runner at 1B didn't sense the ambiguity and had his head down running to 2nd until the 3B coach got his attention.

Instead of holding halfway, the runner turns his back on the play to scramble back to 1B.

The ball then drops, untouched, 3 feet out of the reach of the SS.

SS runs to the ball, picks it up and fires to 2B for the easy force out on the baserunning gaffe.

Had the runner at 1B correctly run the bases, he would have been safe on the hit (the only way I can see scoring it if everyone is safe).

But since the runner was forced at 2nd, does that automatically mean -under any circumstance- that the hit then turns to a FC in the scorebook?

If so, then the baserunner cost the batter a hit through their own baserunning. Can a hit and force out not exist in the same play?


Rick answered: Max, thank you for your question.

Rule 10.05 Base Hits:

(b) The official scorer shall not credit a base hit when a:

(3) pitcher, catcher, or any infielder handles a batted ball and puts out a preceding runner who is attempting to advance one base or to return to his original base, or would have put out such runner with ordinary effort except for a fielding error.

The Official Scorer shall charge the batter with a time at bat but no hit.

As you work through this at bat, there is no error on the fly ball, it drops cleanly.

Had the runner from first base reached second base before the ball got there, base hit.

Since it was the SS that picked up the ball and threw to second for the force, 6-4 on the put out at second.

The batter is charged with a time at bat; but no hit. Scorebook should show he is on first due to a fielder's choice.

Tough break indeed for the batter. Had an outfielder picked up the ball and made the play, a hit would have been credited.

I believe the logic for this decision in the rules is, how far the ball traveled. If far enough to involve an outfielder to make the play, then far enough to credit a base hit.

Yours in baseball,

Rick

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