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Holding a runner on First Base


Guest Brendan Philbin

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Guest Brendan Philbin

Hi there. I play first base for my high school team and am having a problem with my coach regarding the way I am holding runners on. Here is the situation. With a runner in first base and a lefty pitcher, I play pretty much behind the runner. When my pitcher (the move of whom I can see before the runner) makes his initial start of his stretch, I sneak in behind the runner and receive the ball from the pitcher on a pickoff throw. My coach says this is illegal in that it is throwing to an unoccupied base and I am deceiving the runner. So I need your help, is if legal what I am doing because I have had great success with it. If possible, please cite some rules from the Official a Rule Book in your response. Thanks!

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Hi there. I play first base for my high school team and am having a problem with my coach regarding the way I am holding runners on. Here is the situation. With a runner in first base and a lefty pitcher, I play pretty much behind the runner. When my pitcher (the move of whom I can see before the runner) makes his initial start of his stretch, I sneak in behind the runner and receive the ball from the pitcher on a pickoff throw. My coach says this is illegal in that it is throwing to an unoccupied base and I am deceiving the runner. So I need your help, is if legal what I am doing because I have had great success with it. If possible, please cite some rules from the Official a Rule Book in your response. Thanks!

Your move seems totally legal. Your coach may be protecting you from unschooled umpires that don't know the rules as your coach doesn't either. Does your HS play under NFHS rules? Cites are available for that but it's late and I am watching the spurs.

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1.1.4 deals with players in fair territory at the time of pitch. Here's the case play that says what you're doing is legal.

 

 

6.2.4 SITUATION J:

With R1 on first base and two outs, F1 attempts to pick off R1. As F1 pivots to throw, he realizes that F3 is not on the base, but is in his normal defensive position. F1 completes the throw without interruption. The coach of the offensive team wants a balk called on F1.

RULING: As long as F3 is in the proximity of the base, F1 would not be guilty of a balk. Proximity is umpire judgment and is based on whether the fielder is close enough to the base to legitimately make a play on the runner.

 

If you're catching the runner off the base, I'd say that's pretty good evidence you're  close enough to make a legitimate play! 

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Hi there. I play first base for my high school team and am having a problem with my coach regarding the way I am holding runners on. Here is the situation. With a runner in first base and a lefty pitcher, I play pretty much behind the runner. When my pitcher (the move of whom I can see before the runner) makes his initial start of his stretch, I sneak in behind the runner and receive the ball from the pitcher on a pickoff throw. My coach says this is illegal in that it is throwing to an unoccupied base and I am deceiving the runner. So I need your help, is if legal what I am doing because I have had great success with it. If possible, please cite some rules from the Official a Rule Book in your response. Thanks!

 

Why does you coach think the base is unoccupied? The term refers to a runner, not a fielder.

 

It's legal to deceive a runner if done within the rules. If you were not allowed to deceive the runner you'd have to tell him when the pitcher was going to throw to the base. Run that by your coach and see it the light comes on.

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When my pitcher (the move of whom I can see before the runner) makes his initial start of his stretch, I sneak in behind the runner and receive the ball from the pitcher on a pickoff throw.

 

From what you describe, it is legal. What might get in trouble with this move is if your "sneak in" puts you between the runner and the base and you don't yet have the ball. That "might" be obstruction on you.

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