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San Clemente Little League

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Mar, 2023

Infield Fly Rule

What is the infield fly rule and why do they have it?
An Infield Fly is a fair fly ball (not a line drive or bunt) that, in the judgment of the umpire, can be caught by an infielder, pitcher, or catcher with ordinary effort and when there are runners on first and second or first, second, and third and less than two outs. When the umpire calls "infield fly” the batter is out, regardless of whether the ball is subsequently caught or dropped. The ball is live, and runners already on base may advance (at their own risk) if the ball is not caught or tag up and advance if it is caught.

Why does it exist?
To prevent double or triple plays on popups. Imagine bases loaded and a soft popup to third base. Without the infield fly rule, the runners have a dilemma. If they stay close to their bases, the third base player could choose to let the ball drop and get multiple outs by tagging the runner who was on third, stepping on third base to force out the runner from second, and throwing to second base to force out the runner from first. If the runners go too far from their bases, the third base player catches the ball and doubles them off. The reason the rule applies only with at least first and second base occupied is that if there are not multiple runners on base, a missed popup can only result in one force out.

What does it mean for my player?
When you hear infield fly called, you no longer have to run if the ball drops. So stay close to your base and listen to your coach, who will probably send you only if the ball is not caught and you’re going to be safe; be ready to slide because it will be a tag play.

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