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Getting on Second

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Parent Category: Archive Category: George's Dish
Written by George Demetriou

 

There are a myriad of ways to get to second base, especially from first but only a very limited number ways to get there directly from the batter’s box. The most obvious is to hit a double. Every other method involves a base award of two bases that fall into three categories. Except where noted, the material applies equally to NFHS, NCAA and pro rules.

“Ground rule” double. Almost everyone uses that term which is actually a misnomer. The ground rules have very little to do with a batted ball that leaves the playing field after its flight has ended. By printed rule, a batter is awarded two bases is when his fair batted ball bounces and passes over, through or under a fence or into the stands or other dead ball area or sticks in the fence. The rule includes deflected balls. Also, a fair ball in-flight that passes through or under a fence or sticks in the fence is treated similarly (NFHS 8-3-3c; NCAA 8-3n1; pro 6.09e-g, 7.05f). The ground rules merely serve to identify the unique features of the field that delineate its boundaries and/or where a ball may become lodged.

 

Play 1: B1 hits a line drive to left center. The ball bounces into the vines covering the outfield wall and does not reappear. Before the ball disappeared in the vines, B1 was on his way to second. Ruling 1: The ball is dead when it does not reappear "immediately." B1 is awarded two bases from the time of pitch. It does not matter where he was at the time the ball was declared dead.

 

If a fair ball in-flight is deflected by a fielder and leaves the playing field in flight it is a home run. Pro rules have an exception for fair balls that leave the playing in foul territory - a two base award (NFHS 8-3-3a; NCAA 8-3h; pro 6.09h, 7.05f).

 

Play 2: F9 gains possession of B1's batted ball: (a) in flight, or (b) on a bounce. His momentum carries him into the fence. When he bangs into the fence; the ball pops out of his glove and over the fence in fair territory. Ruling 2: In (a), B1 is awarded a home run; in (b) two bases.

 

A ball that hits a fence and then deflects off a fielder and goes over the fence without touching the ground has not left the playing field in flight and would thus result in a base-base award.

 

If a fielder intentionally kicks or deflects a batted ball out of play, it’s still a two base award, but the award is from the time the ball was kicked or deflected (NFHS 8.3.3K; NCAA 8-3n5; pro NAPBL 3.7).

 

Play 3: Speedy B1 hits the ball off the wall near the right field foul line and it bounces back toward the plate. When F9 catches up with ball, he bobbles it. Seeing F1 will make it to third, he slaps the ball under the bench in the open bullpen (a dead-ball area). Ruling 3: B1 is awarded two bases from the base he had last touched when the ball was deflected, most likely first base. B1 would thus be awarded third.

Thrown glove. This one is a rarity of rarities. The first rarity is a fielder throwing a glove at a ball and actually striking it. There is no penalty if the ball is not touched. A fielder also may not use his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person to touch the ball. The ball remains live (delayed dead-ball) and runners may advance beyond the awarded base at their risk.

There is no penalty if the glove is carried off the fielder’s hand by the force of a thrown or batted ball or if the glove comes off in a legitimate effort to make a catch (NFHS 8-3-3c; NCAA 8-3g1, pro 7.05d, e, Cmt 2).

 

The second rarity is for the glove to hit a thrown ball before the batter-runner has reached first base. Only in that situation will the batter get a two-base award that would put him at second

 

Play 4: B1 hits a grounder to short. F6’s wide throw to first is knocked to the ground by F3’s thrown glove. Ruling 4: Once all play stops, the umpire will award B1 two bases from the time the ball was touched by the thrown glove placing him at second.

 

Although the penalty for using detached equipment on a pitched ball is a one base award in NCAA and pro, it is a two base award in NFHS (NFHS 8-3-3c1, NCAA 8-3g2, pro 7.04e).

 

Play 5: With a 3-2 count, B1 swings at a wild pitch which deflects off the catcher’s shin guard. As the ball is about to roll into the dugout, F2 throws his glove at the ball and stops it. When the ball hits the glove, B1 had not yet reached first. Ruling 5: In NFHS, R1 is awarded second- two bases from the time of the touch, while in NCAA and pro he is awarded first base – one base from the time of the touch.

Overthrow. Runners, including the batter-runner are awarded two bases when a thrown ball goes over a fence or into the stands or other dead ball area. For the batter-runner to end up at second base, the base from which to make the award needs to be the time of the pitch instead of the time of the throw. Please note the time of throw is when the ball is released by the fielder and not the time at which the ball becomes dead.

 

The award is made from the time of pitch when two conditions are met: the throw was the first play by an infielder AND at least one runner, including the batter-runner, did not advance at least one base at the time of the throw. If both those things don’t happen, the award is from the position of the runners at the time of the throw (NFHS 8-3-5, NCAA 8-3k, pro 7.05g).

 

Play 6: B1 hits to F6, who boots the ball. He recovers and over throws to first: (a) before; or (b) after B1 has crossed first base. The ball goes into dead ball territory. Ruling 6: In (a), B1 is awarded second; two bases from the time of the pitch. In (b), since B1 was past first base when throw was made, he is awarded third base; two bases from the time of the throw.

Lodged ball.  Our final scenario is a batted ball that lodges in a player's or umpire’s uniform or equipment; that results in a two base award in NFHS. In NCAA bases may be awarded at the umpire’s discretion. Under pro rules such a ball remains live.

 

If the ball lodges in a glove, the ball remains live. By interpretation, NFHS distinguishes the glove from other player equipment (NFHS 8-3-3c, interp; NCAA 8-3L, 8-3o3; pro Fitzpatrick interp).

 

Play7: B1 hits a sharp, “one-hopper" to the mound that deflects off F1’s glove and goes into his uniform shirt. Ruling 7: In NFHS and NCAA, the ball is dead when it goes into the uniform shirt. In NFHS, B1 is awarded second and in NCAA, the reasonable choices would be to award B1 either first or second. In pro, the ball remains live and play continues.