The Ole Ball Game

If the pitcher steps off the rubber in an attempt to pick off a runner at first and the throw goes out of bounds, is the runner awarded one base or two bases?

by Robert Eddington
(King City, California)

Robert asked: We have several high school fields that are not completely enclosed.

Overthrows by a pitcher attempting to pick off a runner at first base may end up going out of bounds.

The clarification needed is do we award 1 base as we do when the pitcher is still in contact with the rubber or do we consider him an infielder and award two bases?

Rick answered: Robert, thank you for your question.

In the photo above, the pitcher has come set, on the rubber. From there, if he attempts to pick the runner and over throws the ball, which goes out of play, the award is one base, as he was in contact with the rubber at the time of the throw.

As soon as the pitcher steps back off the runner, he is no longer considered a pitcher, he is an infielder, which changes the base award to two bases.

The NFHS rule for this situation is 8-3-3-c...two bases if a fair batted or thrown ball becomes dead because of bouncing over or passing through a fence, or lodges in a defensive player's or umpire's equipment or uniform.

d. one base if a pitch or any throw by the pitcher from his pitching position on his plate goes into a stand or bench or over or through or lodges in a fence or backstop or touches a spectator or lodges in an umpire's or catcher's equipment.

Call is all dependent on the pitcher stepping back off the rubber, or not.

Yours in baseball,


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