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There is a runner on third with one out and batter hits a ground ball to first baseman who opts to throw home before stepping on bag or tagging batter. The runner is safe at home and the batter is safe at first. Is the batter awarded a base hit and a RBI?

4 Answers 4

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Admittedly I'm more familiar with baseball than softball, but for a situation like this, I think the statistical rules are the same. That said, there are a couple of possibilities for the scoring here, and that is with the assumption that no error has been charged to a fielder; i.e. that the throw home was accurate, but the runner from 3rd simply touched home before the tag was applied:

  • Hit and RBI: In the opinion of the scorer, the batter would have reached first with normal effort by the defense if the defense had attempted to make the out at first instead of attempting to get the out at home.
  • Fielder's choice and RBI: In the opinion of the scorer, the batter would have been out at first with normal effort by the defense if they had attempted that play.

If the assumption that no error is made is incorrect, that introduces more possibilities that I won't enumerate here, although a hit will probably not be awarded and an RBI is doubtful also.

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Using the NCAA Baseball and Softball Scorebook, the following looks like it would apply:

BASE HIT

SECTION 4. A base hit is credited when a batter advances to first base safely:

c. When a fielder attempts to put out a preceding runner but is unsuccessful although there is no fielding error, and the official scorer believes the batter-runner would have reached first base with perfect fielding;

FIELDER'S CHOICE

SECTION 5. This term is used by official scorer's to account for the following situations (the batter shall be charged with an official time at bat but no hit in all such situations):

a. When a batter-runner advances one or more bases while a fielder who handles a fair hit attempts to put out a preceding runner

The scorer would choose between these options depending on their opinion of what would have happened were the runner on 3rd not present.

As for the RBI:

RUN BATTED IN

SECTION 9. A run batted in is credited to the batter when a runner scores because of: A base hit (including batter scoring on a home run); a sacrifice bunt or sacrifice fly; any putout; a forced advance, such as a base on balls or batter being hit by a pitch, or an error, provided there are fewer than two outs and the action is such that the runner on third base would have scored even if there had been no error.

Interestingly, they do not mention an RBI in the case of a fielder's choice. That may mean that it doesn't actually apply in NCAA Softball - it would in the MLB rules though:

9.04 Runs Batted In

A run batted in is a statistic credited to a batter whose action at bat causes one or more runs to score, as set forth in this Rule 9.04.

(a) The Official Scorer shall credit the batter with a run batted in for every run that scores

(1) unaided by an error and as part of a play begun by the batter’s safe hit (including the batter’s home run), sacrifice bunt, sacrifice fly, infield out or fielder’s choice, unless Rule 9.04(b) applies;

(with 9.04b talking about errors). So, in the MLB, it would count as an RBI; they don't explicitly say it's not an RBI in NCAA Softball, but it might not be.

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It certainly would be in baseball, it would be an infield single, and the hitter would be credited with an RBI and a base hit. Typically softball leagues try to stick to MLB rules when they have no official definition for the issue at hand, so unless if for some reason the people in charge of the softball games had some particular reason to do things differently then it would be.

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    It might not be a hit in baseball. If - in the official scorer's opinion - the batter would have been out at first with normal effort, it would be ruled a fielder's choice, with no out being made.
    – GreenMatt
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 17:09
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In general, it would be credited as a hit and an RBI.

The only question is that you didn't say why the runner was safe. If the runner beat the throw, then it's a hit. If the first baseman threw wildly or the catcher dropped the throw, then you could credit an error instead of hit/RBI.

The decision to throw home though would never be counted as an error, even if it had no chance of succeeding.

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    In general, I'd expect a fielder's choice to be the ruling, rather than a hit. I've mentioned that in another answer.
    – GreenMatt
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 17:31

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