The Ole Ball Game

I had a batter runner called out forbacking up toward home to avoid a tag from pitcher

by don
(ramona,ca.)

Don asked: Batted ball fielded by pitcher who started to tag batter-runner and then remembered runner on 1st who was going to 2nd.


Batter-runner who had not gone back very far nor out of baseline and did not interfere with defense ran on to 1st and made it because of bad throw from pitcher.

Rule book has no rule but case book explains runner is legal.

Women's softball has a rule on this and the batter runner would be out.

Umpire would not listen.I have talked to a lot of other coaches and umpires about this and have been 50/50.


Rick answered: Don, thank you for your question.

The batter-runner in the first base line has the same options, and restrictions as any base runner between first and second, second and third, or third and home.

As long as he stays in the baseline, he has the right to avoid being tagged out on the play you described. He is not obligated to run into the out.

He can't run outside the base path to avoid the tag, he can retreat as long as he doesn't touch, or go beyond home plate.

As you look at the image above, as he goes forward, he is obligated to get in the running lane, which is at the 45 foot mark, so that he doesn't interfere with the fielder's throwing lane.

The batter is not abandoning his right to run the bases, he is attempting to avoid being tagged out, whether he stops short of the fielder, or moves back towards home plate makes no difference.

He can't touch, or go back beyond home plate. For that, he would be out, considered abandoning his right to run the bases.

I have always taught my players to not run into that tag, if you can avoid it, just for the same thing which happened on your play.

In your scenario, it bought time for the pitcher to rethink and attempt to get the hardest out, which resulted in a throwing error. Both runners safe.

Solid offensive strategy. The ball is live, the batter-runner stays in the baseline and pitcher starts to chase, then remembers the runner from first and everything comes unglued.

Yours in baseball,

Rick

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