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2 Crazy, Unpredictable Plays at Home Plate

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Written By
Xan Barksdale

It’s not very often that you see a base runner hurdle a catcher trying to touch home plate…except for this weekend when it happened twice!

There is a lot to be learned from these two videos.  In one of them the catcher executes it perfectly and gets the runner out, and in the other one the runner scores because the catcher doesn’t “finish the play.”

{Wrong} Tulane baseball player hurdles catcher for tying run in win vs. Xavier:

What did the Xavier catcher do wrong?  He gave up on the play before it was over.  The umpire hadn’t signaled that the runner was safe or out and he made no attempt to go back and tag him…big mistake!

{Correct} Vanderbilt vs. Arkansas crazy play at the plate:

This video shows the exact opposite.  The Arkansas catcher does a great job and never gives up!

The lesson to be learned here is that the play isn’t over until the umpire makes a call.  If he signals safe, that means the runner touched home plate and scored.  If he signals out, that means that you successfully tagged him out before he scored a run.  If no call is made it means that no tag was applied and the runner didn’t touch home plate.

For a lengthy discussion on how to properly handle tag plays at home plate check out the Catching-101 DVD.

Written By
Xan Barksdale


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Coach juan

The rule about the 3 foot does not apply to home plate. So they have to tag for the out or runner give up.


What is the official rule on leaving the base path on that Arkansas play? Can a runner run around the back of the catchers box like that? Should the catcher simply stand on the plate and not leave it forcing the runner to have to come back to the plate thus forcing the ump to declare the runner out by abandoning his intention of touching the plate.

Coach Xan

Todd, that's a great point...when that happens it kind of becomes a game of "chicken" and the advantage goes to the quicker player. The smart thing to do would be to wait at home plate and slowly work your way towards the runner so that he has no where to go. However, the catcher had to make a split second decision and he was aggressive at trying to tag the runner out...I don't think too many coaches would say they don't want their catcher acting aggressively!

Todd VanDerwerken

Totally agree with you and your point on both of the video’s and your point of that the play isn't over until the umpire makes the call. But I wanted to ask your thoughts on the Vanderbilt/Arkansas video; had the Arkansas catcher just stayed home instead of diving for the runner would that have been a less risky play? I mean it turned out ok with the flip to the pitcher and all; but it just seems like it could've been handled differently.

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