The Ole Ball Game

Runner on first. Batter hits a liner to center field that drops in. Center fielder throws to second to retire the runner. Is the batter credited with a hit (fielder had only one option)?

by John
(Brooklyn)

Successful force at second creates fielder's choice ruling for the batter

Successful force at second creates fielder's choice ruling for the batter

John asked: Batter hits a liner to center field that drops in.


Center fielder throws to second to retire the runner.

Is the batter credited with a hit (fielder had only one option)?

Fielder's choice or base hit?


Rick answered: John, thank you for your question.


Rule 2-14 Fielder's Choice Art 1...A fielder's choice is the act of a fielder with a live ball, who elects to throw for an attempted putout or to retire unassisted any runner or batter-runner, thus permitting the advance of another runner(s). The scorer decides whether the batter is credited with a safe hit or an extra base hit in accordance with 9-2-2, 9-2-3. Scorers use the term in the following ways:

a. to indicate the advance of the batter-runner who takes one or more bases when the fielder who handles the batted ball plays on a preceding runner;

b. to indicate the advance of a runner(other than by stolen base or error) while the fielder is trying to put out another runner; and

c. to indicate the advance of a runner due to the defensive team's refusal to play on him (an undefended steal).

Rule 9-2 Section 3 Player's Batting Record

Art 2...A base hit is credited to a batter when he advances to first base safely:

a. because of his fair hit (rather than because of a fielder's error);

1. it is not a base hit if any runner is out on a force play caused by the batter advancing toward first base.


Essentially, when the defense is able to record the putout on a force, the at bat becomes a fielder's choice, even though in real time, the fielder could not have put the batter out on a play at first.

For the at bat to become a hit, that runner from first needed to be safe at second. If the fielder makes his play to second, and is unsuccessful, then the batter would have received a hit, as the scorer is able to make the determination that the batter-runner would have reached first base even with perfect fielding by the defense.

Batter may have been caught up in a situation where the runner felt he had to wait and be sure the ball was going to drop. When it did, he was too late to beat the throw.

Tough way to lose a hit; but it happens quite often.

Yours in baseball,

Rick

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