Ask the Ump!


QUESTION: In high school, baseball and softball, runners on second and first; batter grounds to first base person who steps on first base as umpire calls, “OUT.” First base person then throws to shortstop who steps on second prior to runner reaching base and umpire calls, “SAFE.” Is this call correct?

ANSWER: Both calls are correct. Once a batter-runner is put out at first base for the initial out, any force play situations are no longer in effect; hence, runner advancing to second must be tagged out rather than fielder tagging the base (BB- Rule 2, Sec. 29, Art. 3; SB- Rule 2, Sec. 24).

QUESTION: Runners on second and first; one out; batter hits a fair pop fly near pitcher’s mound as shortstop is in position to make catch. Umpires call infield fly rule but in confusion ball falls untouched between pitcher and shortstop. Runners are advancing as fielder throws ball to third base person who steps on base for apparent force out. Umpire rules, “SAFE.” Correct call?

ANSWER: Correct call is made as all force plays are removed once the infield fly rule is called. Runners advance at own risk and must be tagged during this play. If shortstop caught the fly ball, runners would be required to tag up before legally advancing (BB- Rule 2, Sec. 19 and Sec. 29; SB – Rule 2, Sec. 24, Art. 1-4 and Rule 2, Sec. 30).

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