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The Knotty Problems of Base Running

Scenario 1: Many situations arise in Little League Baseball games pertaining to the base running rule. One of the most prominent is the situation where a batter draws a base on balls and is running to first base. The ball is immediately returned to the pitcher on the pitcher's plate and the catcher remains in the catcher's box ready for the next pitch. Many people feel that the runner must stop at first base and is technically frozen by the fact the pitcher has the ball on the pitcher's plate and the catcher is ready to receive a pitch. This is not true.

As long as the batter is making one continuous movement to advance past first base, he is not frozen by the action of the pitcher and/or catcher. He may continue on to second base and the pitcher has the option to make a play on the batter-runner or disregard the advancement of the batter-runner and allow the base to be stolen.

Scenario 2: The batter, who has received a base on balls, goes to first base and STOPS on the base. The pitcher is in possession of the ball on the pitcher's plate and the catcher is ready to receive the pitch. The batter-runner now leaves the base in an attempt to advance. This is not legal and constitutes leaving early. Drop the flag. If the pitcher makes no attempt to make a play on the runner, at the end of the advance, the runner, and all other runners on base, will be returned to their original bases because of the violation. Pick up the flag. If the batter-runner returns to first base on his own volition, and without an attempted play, the penalty will still be in effect for the next pitch. Leave the flag. If, during an attempt to advance, the pitcher begins a motion to deliver a pitch, the violation will be in effect for that pitch and penalized after the pitch or play.

Scenario 3: Same as Scenario 2, except the pitcher makes a play on the runner going to second base. If the runner is put out, the out stands, and other runners return to their original bases because of the violation. Pick up the flag. If, however, the runner to second base is not put out while advancing to second base, all runners will be returned to their originals bases. Again, pick up the flag. If the runner to second base returns to first base safely, after being played on, and everyone is safe, the flag will be picked up and there will be no penalty for the next pitch.




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