Confusion After A Fly Ball


Coach O from Iowa asks:

We teach to run hard through first base regardless if you are out of safe. The first base coach will tell you what to do. Here is the situation: Runners on 1st and 3rd, one out....batter hits a deep fly ball to left, clearly, deep enough for a sac fly. The runner on 1st goes half way and retreats and is not going tag up. Runner at 3rd scores easily. Batter (like we teach) runs hard through first, rounds, and by the time the ball is caught, he is about halfway to second, then starts to jog. Everyone thinks that the batter is the runner at 1st and calls for the ball at 2nd. The leftfielder airmails the throw to 2nd into rightfielder and the runner at 1st takes 2nd. No rules were violated, but after the opposing coach argued, the runner was sent back to first.

In this situation, the runner who started from first base should not be sent back to first. This is because, according to the comment on rule 7.09(e), "if the batter or a runner continues to advance after he has been put out, he shall not, by that act alone be considered as confusing, hindering or impeding the fielders." This rule is in reference to calling a runner out for interference, which should not happen in this situation. If I understand the scenerio correctly, the runner should have been allowed to advance at his own risk because, even though the batter did, unintentionally, confuse the fielders, this is not a basis for penalizing the team, and it should be up to the defense to realize who is the runner that was on first and who was the batter.

Answered by: Jonathan Bravo
Keywords: Runners, MLB Rule 7.09(e)

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