Ask the Ump!

Ask the Ump!


QUESTION: In high school, baseball and softball, runners on third and first base; one out; batter bunts fair ball which is fielded by first base person who immediately throws to catcher. Runner from third base gets in a long rundown between home and third and retreats to third. Runner who started on first base is now also standing on third; hence, both base runners are occupying third base. Catcher tags both runners? Is either runner out? Does it matter what order the tag is applied to runners?

ANSWER: Despite the confusion, the lead runner from third still maintains possession of the base and is not forced to advance. Trail runner from first could have retreated to second. Therefore, lead runner remains safe at third while trail runner is called out and ball remains in play (BB- Rule 8, Sec. 2, Art. 8; SB- Rule 8, Sec. 3, Art. 7). This is not a force play situation.

QUESTION: Runners on third and second; one out; batter lofts a high fly fair ball near second base. Shortstop, attempting to field the fly ball, bumps into the runner standing on second base and drops the ball. Is this runner interference? Is this incidental contact? Is runner or batter called out? Live/dead ball?

ANSWER: Ball remains in play; no interference is the call provided runner did not intentionally impede/hinder fielder. Runner has the right to legally occupy the base but may not demonstrate any action which causes interference. Runners are not required to vacate their base in this play (BB-Rule 8-2-8; SB- Rule 8-3-3).

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