Baseball Force Outs

What is a force out? When can a fielder get a baserunner out by simply stepping on the base? Get ready to learn about force outs in baseball.


We've already learned about the baserunner and that he must complete the circuit of bases in order of 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, and home plate to earn a run for his team.

Baseball Advance

We also learned that only one (1) baserunner can occupy a base at given time. This will be important as we begin our discussion of force plays.

There are a few ways for a fielder to put a baserunner out:

In this tutorial, we will learn about force outs, what they mean, and how they work in baseball.

Force Outs/Force Plays

Force outs, also known as force plays, happen when a runner must advance to the next base because a runner behind him is approaching his current base, and he is put out as a result.

Baseball Force Play

Example For Out Situation

For example, if a batter hits a ground ball and there is a runner on first base, that runner must advance because the batter-runner is approaching first base, and they cannot occupy that base at the same time.

Stepping On The Bag

If the second baseman has fielded the baseball, he can simply step on second base before the runner (who was previously on first base) reaches it, and that runner is out. Since the original runner was forced off his previous base to advance to a base that had just been tagged by a fielder, that runner is considered to be forced out.

Fielder's Choice

Sometimes, batter-runners reach first base on what is called a fielder's choice. This occurs when there is a runner already on base, the batter hits a ground ball, and the fielders decide to put out the pre-existing runner at his next base rather than the batter-runner. Therefore, the batter-runner reaches first base safely.

PRO TIP: Batters who reach first base on a fielder's choice are not credited with a hit, since they would have otherwise been out if the runner had not been there.

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