First base is occupied. Batter hits the ball and is thrown out at first (first). Does the runner have to be tagged at second or is it a force out.?

1 Answer 1


After the runner is thrown out at first, the runner who was on first is no longer forced anywhere. He must be tagged.

There are two reasons why it is best to throw out the lead runner first:

  1. If the runner is not forced at the next base, he must be tagged. If you throw out the runner behind the lead runner, he is no longer forced to advance (he could return to the previous base), and you create extra work for yourself by having to tag him.

  2. The lead runner is the closest runner to home plate - i.e. the closest to scoring.

  • Just to add my 2 cents... This is a very common play in the MLB, when there is a runner on first and the ball is hit to the first baseman. If you look at the video in the link, Wilmer Flores tagged the runner as opposed to just touching second base: m.mlb.com/video/topic/6479266/v453814783/…
    – KKendall
    Apr 22, 2016 at 3:23
  • 2
    @KKendall. Sure. But it's still not ideal. Ideally, you have the 3-6-3 double play where the firstbasemen throws to the shortstop covering second, who in turn throws it back to first to get the runner there. The fact that a firstbaseman would go to this length to ensure he gets the lead runner shows how important it is considered to preserve the force out.
    – dgo
    Apr 22, 2016 at 13:55
  • Yes I agree with you.
    – KKendall
    Apr 22, 2016 at 14:14
  • 2
    I probably should have added the comment to the question, not this answer...
    – KKendall
    Apr 22, 2016 at 14:15

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