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From the Field! Runners not Tagging Up and Wild Throws

This month, Nick from Washington District 1, poses a two-part question.

Here’s Nick’s Situation: With runners on second and third base, and one out, the batter hits a soft line drive to the second baseman. The ball is caught on the fly for the second out, and both runners break for the next base without tagging up. The second baseman throws the ball to home plate. As the runner from third base crosses home plate, the ball gets away from the catcher. During this same play, the runner from second base reaches third base and makes a wide turn toward home plate. The catcher then throws the ball toward the third baseman in attempt to put out the runner who rounded third base, but the ball deflects off of the third baseman’s glove and goes out of play beyond the fence line.

Nick writes, “My first question seems simple: ‘What’s the correct call here?’ The second part of my question has to do with the runners’ ability to re-touch the bases or tag-up during a dead ball; and the ruling when the defense decides to properly appeal the play?”

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Answer: We can explain the answer by taking the play in the order of events. First, the runner on third base would score on the wild throw from the second baseman. The runner on second base would score on the play at third base when the ball is deflected over the fence (Reference Rule 7.05(g)).

Secondly, to answer the re-touch issue, reference 7.10 (b) Approved Ruling (2) which states: When the ball is dead no runner may return to touch a missed base or one abandoned after said runner has advanced to and touched a base beyond the missed base.

When the ball was thrown to the third baseman and was deflected over the fence, the ball became dead the moment it went out of play (dead ball territory). Since, by rule, the runners cannot return to touch a missed base once they have touched a base beyond the missed base or, in this case to tag up, the defense has an opportunity for an appeal play (Reference Rule 7.10(b)). Once the ball is put back in play (live ball), the defense could appeal that the runner on third base did not tag up prior to the ball being caught. This would be the third out of the inning and no runs would score (Reference Rule 7.12).

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Fairball | November 2014 | URC | Registry