Ask the Ump!


QUESTION: In high school baseball only, runner on first base; batter-runner singles to outfield as lead runner misses second and is standing on third base. Before any pitch is thrown, pitcher attempts to pick off runner at first base but runner is ruled safe. Defensive coach asks for time and verbally appeals the runner missed second base. Umpires deny the request for appeal. Correct action?

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ANSWER: By making a live ball pickoff play at first, the defense lost its right to appeal the base running violation; hence, the appeal is not honored. The appeal must occur before the next pitch or attempted play. ( BB- Rule 8, Sec. 2, Art. 1-5 Pen.; Rule 8, Sec. 2, Art. 6). This rule does not apply to softball because runners cannot take leads prior to pitch; hence, no pickoff plays by pitcher.

QUESTION: In high school baseball and softball, runner on third base; one out; batter-runner flies out to center fielder. Lead runner scores after catch but umpire noticed runner left too soon prior to first contact. Is it the duty of the umpire to rule the runner out at the end of playing action despite no appeal by the defense?

ANSWER: Although the umpire witnessed the infraction, he/she cannot make any call unless appealed by the defense. No appeal, the run scores. (BB- Rule 8, Sec. 2, Art. 6) (SB- Rule 2-1-3).