Similar to NCAA softball game several years ago, youth baseball player hits homerun over fence and touches all bases except home plate during celebration. Player celebrates with team and gets to within a few feet of dugout, while the umpire does not signal time, hands new ball to catcher, and turns to walk back to position. Catcher talks to umpire with clear and audible intention to appeal missed base. Batter being pushed back to touch the base by coach on team runs back to homeplate and catcher tags the batter. Batter called out. Are rules same in baseball as softball, that the tag is sufficient after communication to the umpire, or does the batter still have the opportunity to touch the base before the pitcher to fielder appeal process? (Interesting in this situation as the umpire avoided the controversy of the appeal, by calling the runner out because of the coach interference to aid the "runner".
MLB Rule 5.09(b)(12) states that a runner is out
In running or sliding for home base, he fails to touch home base and makes no attempt to return to the base, when a fielder holds the ball in his hand, while touching home base, and appeals to the umpire for the decision;
My interpretation is that the umpire would not hand the ball back to the catcher until, in his opinion, the runner had failed to make a reasonable effort to touch home plate before heading to the dugout. As such, the runner no longer has the opportunity to touch home, but will not be out unless and until the defensive team executes an appeal. Likewise, the tag should not have been sufficient, as at no point during the play was the runner liable to be tagged out.
On second thought, Rule 5.09(c)(4) may be the relevant rule.
Any runner shall be called out, on appeal, when:
(4) He fails to touch home base and makes no attempt to return to that base, and home base is tagged.
5.09(b)(12) has an associated comment:
This rule applies only where runner is on his way to the bench and the catcher would be required to chase him. It does not apply to the ordinary play where the runner misses the plate and then immediately makes an effort to touch the plate before being tagged. In that case, runner must be tagged.
which, I think, just means that if the catcher could have tagged the runner, he can appeal instead of chasing the runner if the runner has apparently given up the attempt to touch home base correctly.