How To Award Bases In Baseball

Whether you are a player, coach or umpire, you should know how to award bases in baseball. It’s one of those little rules that can cause a lot of confusion after an error has been made and a ball has been thrown away into dead ball territory. Should the runners get one base? Two bases? Here is a look at how to award bases in baseball so that everyone is on the same page in the heat of a game.

  1. The pitcher was on the mound. To award bases in baseball, a few questions have to be answered. If the pitcher was on the mound and in contact with the pitching plate when the he made the errant throw, the runner gets one base. An example would be a pitcher trying to pick off a base runner at first base and the wild throw goes into the stands. The runners on base would all advance one base.
  2. The pitcher was off the mound. If the pitcher was off the mound at the time of the errant throw, then the runners get two bases. An example of this would be a pitcher fields the baseball and during his throw to first base, but he accidentally throws it into the stands. The runners would all move two bases.
  3. The errant throw was made by an infielder. If the throw was made by the catcher, third baseman, short stop, second baseman or first baseman, the runners will advance two bases from where they were as the previous pitch left the pitcher’s hand. If a runner was on first base, a ground ball was hit to the short-stop and he over-throws the first baseman, the runner on first will move to third and the hitter would end up on second.
  4. The errant throw was by an outfielder. This is where how to award bases in baseball gets a little trickier. The runners are awarded two bases from where they were when the throw left the outfielder’s hand. If there was a runner on first who made it to second by the time the outfielder threw the baseball that then went into the stands, that runner would cross home plate because he would get two bases from when he was standing on second base.
  5. The errant throw was the second play made by an infielder. In this instance, the runners would be awarded two bases from where they were when the ball left the hand of the infielder. For instance, there’s a runner on first and second and a ground ball is hit to the third baseman. The third baseman steps on third to get the force out and then throws the ball into the first base stands. When he threw the ball, the runner was standing on second base. That runner would then score because the first play was the third baseman recording the out and the second play was him over-throwing the first baseman. 
  6. The rule of thumb. While this discussion has gotten into the baseball rule 7.05 specifics, there is a ways way to remember what to do when on the field. First play in the infield equals the time of pitch. The second play or any play from the outfield equals time of release. 



  • Carry a pocket rule book with you if you are coaching or umpiring. That way if this situation arises, you can point to the rule right away. This will settle confusion, flaring tempers and most importantly allow the right call to be made.
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