Jumping out of the way to prevent being tagged

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Mar 28, 2020
287
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Trying to understand the rule.

We had a situation where ball got passed catcher to the right 1st base side. Catcher retrieves ball and attacks hm plate crossing before runner gets there and drives down 3rd foul line at runner. Runner jumps hard towards pitcher mound leaving foul line by almost 3 feet and catcher misses her.....runner then touches home plate and is called safe.

What is the rule for dodging a tag or leaving the foul line? Where can I find it in the rule book?
 
Nov 18, 2015
1,590
113
I'm going off USSSA rules - I believe most other rulesets are similar.

TL/DR: It's legal - runner safe.

Here's my suggestions on how to think about this and similar plays:
1. The foul line determines fair and foul territory - it has nothing to do with a runners basepath.
2. The basepath does NOT equal the baseline.
- The baseline is the direct line between bases. (2022 USSSA Ch. 3 - Definitions)
- The basepath is the direct line between the runner and the base they're heading to. (2022 USSSA Ch. 3 - Definitions)
3. The baseline is always there, 24/7, game or no game, runner or no runner
4. The basepath isn't established until there is a tag being attempted on the runner. ("attempted tag" can also be a separate discussion , but I think it's pretty obvious in your example) (2022 USSSA Ch. 3 - Definitions)
5. A runner is allowed to deviate 3 feet to either side of the basepath to avoid a tag. (2022 USSSA Ch. 8 Sect. 18.A)

IF the runner was following the actual foul line, and she jumped "almost 3 feet" to avoid the tag - that's legal - runner safe. If she was coming down the baseline in foul territory, and then crossed the foul line and went another 3', then she's probably out of the basepath, and would be out.
 
May 27, 2022
412
63
Trying to understand the rule.

We had a situation where ball got passed catcher to the right 1st base side. Catcher retrieves ball and attacks hm plate crossing before runner gets there and drives down 3rd foul line at runner. Runner jumps hard towards pitcher mound leaving foul line by almost 3 feet and catcher misses her.....runner then touches home plate and is called safe.

What is the rule for dodging a tag or leaving the foul line? Where can I find it in the rule book?

Avoiding the tag has nothing to do with the foul line.

The runners path is established only when there is a play on the runner. At that point, their base path is a direct line from where they are to the next/previous base. When the catcher turned her attention the runner, the the runner is locked into +/- 3' deviation from the line of where she is to home plate.

So, did she deviate MORE than 3' from that line?

Generally, a defensive player can reach ~3' from where they are standing. If the defender is in the runners lane (with the ball of course), the runner is generally going to be out. If she is not in the runner's lane, there will be a gap between reach and running limit for the runner to avoid the tag.
 
Aug 1, 2019
1,000
113
MN
It's a tough call for an umpire relying a lot on their judgement. In a hypothetical situation of the fielder centered over the basepath, the fielder should be able to reach out three feet in either direction. That makes it hard for the runner to avoid a tag without being mostly outside the basepath. Then it's back to the umpire to judge if she was completely out of the three foot range. Especially tough for an umpire working alone and calling it anywhere between 1st and 3rd.
 
Mar 28, 2020
287
43
It's a tough call for an umpire relying a lot on their judgement. In a hypothetical situation of the fielder centered over the basepath, the fielder should be able to reach out three feet in either direction. That makes it hard for the runner to avoid a tag without being mostly outside the basepath. Then it's back to the umpire to judge if she was completely out of the three foot range. Especially tough for an umpire working alone and calling it anywhere between 1st and 3rd.
Yea the catcher could have still tagged her if she had rotated and reached out......so the umpire was right.....wanted to understand the rule...thanks everyone
 
May 15, 2008
1,960
113
Cape Cod Mass.
This scenario is why I like my players to make tags with the ball in the glove and the throwing hand holding the glove closed rather than having the throwing hand on the ball in the glove ('two handed'). If they have to reach for the runner they have limited range with the 'two handed' tag. With the throwing hand holding the glove closed they can let go and reach further out. Of course if they have to let go and attempt a one handed tag there is an increased possibility that the ball will be dislodged, but at least they can reach the runner.
 
Feb 13, 2021
880
93
MI
Of course if they have to let go and attempt a one handed tag there is an increased possibility that the ball will be dislodged, but at least they can reach the runner.
^^ THIS If you cannot reach the runner you have 0% chance of getting the out. This is always worse than any chance you might have of dropping the ball during/after the tag.
 
Mar 28, 2020
287
43
So how many parents were yelling at the umpire from each side?
A few were, but I told our catcher if you were under control on the attack you would have got her.....she was scared so you didn't have to attack her so hard.............it was a learnable situation.....I was asking to know if I should have had a discussion with the ump....but nope in the future no discussion ump was right...
 

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