Hey Blue: Is an out for failure to tag up a Force Out?

By Bob Downey, Hanover LL UIC 2015

For Little League Baseball,

By definition;

“a Force Play is a play in which a runner legally loses the right to occupy a base by reason of the batter becoming a runner. “

When the ball is caught the batter can no longer “force” anyone anywhere.   It is true that a runner is REQUIRED to tag up, but in context of the game, they are not FORCED.  

Another way to remember this is that a runner can only be FORCED to the next base.  They cannot be FORCED backwards around the bases.

Any out made on the runner who left early is not considered a “Force out” but is actually considered a form of an “appeal” play.

For ASA Softball,

By definition;

“FORCE OUT: An out which may be made only when a runner loses the right to the base that the runner is occupying because the batter becomes a batter-runner and before the batter-runner or a trailing runner has been put out.”

So the same holds true as in baseball.   While the ways the defense can perform appeals to get a runner out differ from Little League Baseball to ASA Softball, the end result is the same: it is NOT a FORCE OUT.

Further, if the appealed out is the third out of the half inning, and a run scored on the play, the umpire has to rule whether the run scored before the third out was made, or after.   If before, the run counts.  If after, the run does not count.   This is what is referred to as a “Timing Play”. 

Check out my articles explaining Appeals and the differences between Little League and ASA Softball.