The Ole Ball Game

Is this a triple play?

by Bill "Confucius"
(Coventry, CT)

Sorry, don't currently have a pic with bases loaded.

Sorry, don't currently have a pic with bases loaded.

Bill asked: Batter up. Bases loaded.

Swinging bunt. Runners in motion.

Ball scooped by catcher steps on home for force out and throws to 1st to force batter out.

Runner from 1st to 2nd arrives to base safely.

Confusion ensues and runner at 2nd thinks he has to return to first. He gets back to 1st without being tagged.

Coach has pitcher throw ball back to first baseman and runner is ultimately called out by confused umpire.

What is the correct call?

Bill, thank you for your question.

This one must have created some serious excitement in real time.

Once the ball is hit on the ground, all the runners need to be moving, which they did.

Catcher picks ball up, steps on plate, for out number 1.

Catcher throws the ball to first base, getting out number two on the batter-runner.

The runner from first was originally safe at second.

Comment: Rule 5:06 (a): If a runner legally acquires title to a base, and the pitcher assumes his pitching position, the runner may not return to a previously occupied base.

The umpire's decision all hinges on where the pitcher was located, at the time the runner at second, returned to first.

If the pitcher was up on the mound, and the runner took off for first, then the pitcher can come set, throw over, they tag runner, he is out.

If the pitcher was not on the mound when the runner returned, no appeal can be made; he could be tagged out before he got back to the first base bag, unless time had been called somewhere in there.

Would be interested in knowing where the pitcher was located at the time the runner was returning to first base. That is the key!

Yours in baseball,


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