QUESTION: In high school, baseball and softball, is there a “must slide” rule? Are runners automatically called out for not sliding in certain plays at the bases? Are head first slides legal?
ANSWER: The rule states that runners are never required to slide but if he / she chooses to slide it must be a legal slide. Base runners have the option to stop, retreat, go around, give oneself up or slide in a direction away from fielder to avoid contact or alter the play of the fielder. Head first slides are legal at all bases. Illegal slides involve rolling, cross body and pop up slides into a fielder. Runners are called out due to an illegal slide causing illegal contact and / or illegally alters the fielder making a play. (BB- Rule 2, Sec. 32, Art. 1 & 2; Rule 8, Sec. 4, Art. 2,b) (SB- Rule 2, Sec. 52, Art. 1 & 2; Rule 8, Sec. 6, Art. 13).
QUESTION: When a runner slides, must he / she be within reach of base with foot?
ANSWER: A legal slide involves the runner being within reach of the base with either a hand or foot through completion of slide. Runners are permitted to slide or run in a direction away from fielder to avoid contact or altering the fielder’s play. (BB- Rule 2, Sec. 32, Art. 1) (SB- Rule 2, Sec. 52, Art. 1).