On a force play at first, if the infielder dives and touches the bag, does the ball have to be in the same hand that touched the bag?
Photo Bill Stanton: Checkswing.com
Anonymous asked: In a youth league with amateur umpires, there was a ball hit to the first baseman. The ball was bobbled and by the time the first baseman recovered and got the ball, he had to dive toward the bag to get the runner out. The ball was in his glove, but he reached out and touched the bag with his bare hand. The runner was called safe. Was this the correct call or should he have been out?
Rick answered: Thank you for your question.
Incorrect call! The force situation was still in effect as the runner had not successfully reached first base yet.
With a force, possession and control of the ball is the first thing, the second is did the fielder touch the base before the batter/runner did? It doesn't matter what part of his/her body touches the base, it is a force out. In the picture above, it is a more conventional force at first, using their foot; but it can be anything as long as they have possesion of the ball.
In a non-force, tag situation, the player must tag the runner with the baseball, either in their glove, or in their bare hand; but the tag must be made by the baseball.
That was actually a very heads up play for a youth baseball game. Too bad they missed the call.
Yours in baseball,