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QUESTION: 1 out, runner on first base. A line drive is hit to the shortstop who catches the ball. He then throws to first base because the ruuner on first started running to second. The runner stops and tries to return to first. The ball is thrown and would have beaten the runner back to first, however the first baseman missed the ball and it goes out of bounds. What base is the base runner awarded? Remember, the runner would have been out if the throw was caught.

ANSWER: Hi Gary,

In ASA and all other orgs I know of but 1, in this case the award is 2 bases from the last base touched at the time of the throw.  The direction of the runner has no bearing on the award.  So in this case the award would be 3rd.  The runner is still required to retouch 1st before taking the award.

I'm just curious????? could you write me back and tell me why "Remember, the runner would have been out if the throw was caught." this would matter at all on what the award would be.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The reason I mention the direction is because he didn't have first base if the throw was caught he was out. So, under your answer, he was actually awarded 3 bases because he vacated first.  

If a ground ball is hit to an infielder and he throws to first and the ball goes out of bounds, he is awarded first and second. If the ball was caught by the first baseman, the runner would have been out. However, in the above situation with the runner going back to first, he should be awarded first and second, but not third.

One of these rulings is wrong...

Hi Gary,

In your example of the the ground ball, I assume the b-r had not yet reached 1st, so they are awarded 2 bases from the time of the throw, in that case 1st and 2nd.  2nd would be the correct award.

In your OP R1 had already attained 1st, what the play by F6 was a "live ball appeal" of a base left too early on a caught fly ball.  R1 was already legally entitled to 1st and had possessed it. The fact they are off it during a play doesn't matter.

ASA RS 38...."Runners are always awarded 2 bases on balls that are overthrown....Regardless of who made the throw 2 bases are awarded from the last base touched at the time the throw was released.  The runner's direction of movement has no effect on the award.  When an overthrow is made on a runner returning to a base, the runner is awarded 2 bases from that base."

So you can see the last sentence leaves no doubt on what the award is, in this case 3rd.  In almost all major orgs (ASA, FED, etc.) that is the rule.

To even get a little crazier.......R1 on 1st, less than 2 outs, a long fly ball to the fence and R1 is running.  Between 2nd and 3rd R1 sees the ball caught and now heads back to 1st but is still between 2nd and 3rd when the F8s' throw is released which ultimately  goes over F3s head, out of play.  The award here is HOME.  R1 must of course retouch the bases.  

Home is 2 bases from the last base touched (2nd) at the time of the throw.  I've seen this happen only a few times but I'll tell you few coaches believe that is the right call.  But it absolutely is, just as 3rd is the right call in your OP.


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Dr. Mark R. Ambrose


I can answer all questions about book rules and "case book" rules governing the playing of ASA softball. Have a REAL situation that happened and are not sure the proper rule was applied, ask me.


I am a registered ASA umpire, a MASA "At-Large" umpire since 1996 and a retired District Umpire-In-Chief. I have very extensive experience in MASA State Championship and ASA national qualifying tournament play both as an umpire and an Umpire-In-Chief. I completed 3 ASA National Schools including the ASA national advanced umpire school in Ok City("Bernie" for those who know him was the lead clinician, I survived the week and couldn't let my kids watch the game tapes when I got home. No, I love you Bernie). I was one of 4 "Yankee" umpires selected to umpire the Men's D National East Championship in 2002 in Winter Haven FL

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