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Baseball Base Running

What is base running? How do batters and baserunners run the bases? Get ready to learn the rules of baserunning in baseball.

Base Running

What happens after the batter makes contact with a pitch? The batter becomes a batter-runner and must get on base to become a base runner. Baserunning is an important part of baseball and scoring runs. A base runner needs to complete the circuit of bases and touch 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, and home plate in order to score a run. A run is worth one point for the team at-bat.


A batter becomes a base runner (also called runner) when he safely reaches a base. Once he safely occupies a base, he is considered to be on-base, and his primary goal is to reach home plate to score.

baseball base runner

Getting On Base

When a runner is on-base, he has safely reached a base after his at-bat.

Baseball on base

There are two ways a batter can get on-base:

  1. Walks
  2. Hitting the baseball

We have already how batters can draw a walk, also known as a base-on-balls. When a walk occurs, the batter immediately becomes a base runner on first base. Now, let's learn what happens if a hit is made.

Batter Transitions

When the batter makes contact with a pitch, he immediately becomes a batter-runner with a goal of getting safe on-base. If the batter-runner becomes safe, he then becomes a base runner.

Baseball Batter Transitions

Getting On-Base

The batter-runner should immediately run towards first base. There are many outcomes to a batter making contact with the baseball. If the baseball is hit into fair territory, the play can either result in the batter being put out or reaching base safely. If he is ruled safe on-base by an umpire, he will become a base runner. Players on offense run around the bases to score runs. A base is one of the four points of the diamond in the infield. A runner must touch the four bases in order to score a run starting with first base, second base, third base, and finally home plate to complete the circuit.

Baseball Batter Runner

Man on First, Man on Second, Man on Third

If a runner is occupying a base, the situation is referred to as there being a "man on" the base he is occupying.

Man on Second

For example, if a runner is occupying second base, you might say, "There is a man on second." The phrase is only used to describe the situation, not the base runner himself. For example, if a base runner is on second base, you would not say, "He is a man on second".

Baseball Man on Second

Runners in Scoring Position

If there are base runner(s) on second base, third base, or both, that is considered a situation where there are runners in scoring position (RISP). Second base and third base are considered scoring position because it usually only takes a single being hit to drive them to home plate.

Baseball Scoring Position

Base Running Terminology

If you want to learn more about base running, we've put together a list of terms you should familiarize yourself with.

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