When does the batter have to run after they hit the ball in a baseball game?

baseball running lane

The image above shows the running lane on a baseball field where the batter must stay in as he runs to first base.

  • Batters do not have to run to first base if they hit a foul ball
  • Batters should run to first base when they hit the ball, but there is no rule that forces them to run to first base
  • Base runners must advance to the next base if a runner behind them needs to occupy the base.

When should a batter run after hitting the ball?

Whenever the batter hits the ball into fair territory he should run to first base.

If a batter hits the ball and does not run to first base, then they are putting no pressure on the defense, allowing for an easy out.

It is in a batter's best interest to always run to first base. Even in the event of a pop up or soft ground ball there is still a slight chance that the defense will make a mistake.

The only time a batter should not attempt to run to first base after hitting a ball in play would be if they did not know that they successfully hit the ball. This is a rare situation because more often than not, hitters know whether or not a batted ball is fair or foul.

Despite being the logical decision to run to first after hitting the ball in fair territory, players still reserve the right to not run if they do not want to.

When should you not run after hitting the ball?

In the case of an obvious foul ball, the hitter will not waste his or her energy running to first base. This type of batted ball occurs fairly often throughout the course of a baseball game, so it is not uncommon to make contact and not run. If the ball is somewhat close to landing in fair territory, players are supposed to run to first base just in case.