Does a runner have to tag the next base?
Base running action pic
Jim asked: Does a runner have to tag the next base when the ball is caught in the outfield before returning to the previous base?
Rick answered: Jim, thank you for your question!
With less than two outs, a runner is required to tag up at the base currently at, wait for the flyball to be caught, before he/she can attempt to advance to the next base.
There are two seperate situations that occur if the runner elects to go part way to the next base and wait to see if the fly ball is caught.
If the ball is caught, the runner must return to the occupied base and tag, before attempting to advance to the next base.
If the ball is not caught, the runner is free to advance from where he is at the time, no tag required.
If the runner has already touched and passed the next base, then realizes the ball has been caught, he must retag that base on his way back to the original base occupied. Failure to retag that base will make him out on the appeal.
In the picture above, the runner is advancing from first to third on a base hit to the outfield.
He is about to round that base, headed for third. Let's say, for our scenario that the ball was a fly ball in the gap that he felt would drop, or he thought there were two outs and he was going on contact; but the ball gets caught by the outfielder.
If he could stop right where he is in the picture, he could return to first base without tagging second base, as he had never touched it.
If he is unable to stop, tags the base on his way around, then realizes his error, he must tag second base on his way back to first.
This situation occurs quite often in youth baseball, not so often as players become experienced.
Yours in baseball,