DROPPED THIRD STRIKE
QUESTION: In high school, baseball and softball, one out and first base unoccupied; batter swings and misses strike three but catcher drops the pitch. Batter walks away toward dugout. Is batter automatically called out? Is this abandoning effort?
ANSWER: Despite the apparent appearance of an out, the defense must put out the batter-runner by either tagging him / her or throwing to first. Batter-runner is entitled to run to first base. Once batter-runner enters dugout / dead ball area, he / she has given up right to run and would then be declared out. (BB- Rule 8, Sec. 4, Art. 1,f) (SB- Rule 8, Sec. 4, Art. 7).
QUESTION: Two outs with a runner on first base; batter swings and misses as the third strike pitch is not caught by the catcher. Is batter-runner entitled to run to first base despite being occupied at time of pitch?
ANSWER: Yes, batter-runner has the right to run to first base until the defense properly puts out the runner. If there were less than two outs and first base was occupied, batter-runner is not entitled and is automatically out. ( BB- Rule 8, Sec. 4, Art. 1 e & f) (SB- Rule 8-2-1 and Rule 8-4-7 (note).