Batter-runner and the Look-back rule
This rule is not in effect until the batter-runner has reached first base or has been declared out, whichever occurs first, AND the pitcher has possession of the ball in the pitcher’s circle. It is critically important to know when the batter runner has touched first base on a live ball.
Here is an example of why it is important to track the batter runner to first base. With a runner on 3b (R3), the batter has received ball four. R3 may stay off the base until the BR has touched 1b even if the pitcher has possession of the ball in the circle. As soon as the BR has touched 1b, now R3 must make a move either back to 3b or attempt to score. Be careful not to call R3 out on this play for violation of the look-back rule before the BR has reached first base.
One of the major differences in the codes relates to the BR’s actions after overrunning first base. Remember, all of the following is true only after the pitcher has the ball in the circle.
USA, NFHS, USSSA
Once the BR starts moving back toward 1b the BR cannot attempt to advance to 2b. If she does, she should be declared out. When the BR reaches the end of her overrun:
• If she turns to the right she must go back to 1b
• If she makes any movement back to the infield in any direction except directly to 2b she must return to 1b
• If she commits to 2b she must go to 2b
• If she violates any of these stipulations, she should be called out immediately.
NCAA has expanded this rule and created an imaginary “base path” once the BR has overrun 1b and starts moving back toward 1b (the rule uses the word “baseline extended” but this is a bit deceiving, as the baseline is defined as the direct line between two bases). This “base path” is defined by three feet in either direction from the foul line, so this “base path” to which the BR is limited is a six-foot area extending from three feet into fair ground to three feet into foul ground. If the BR is in this base path as the ball goes into the circle, she may continue directly back to first base but is still allowed to attempt an advance to 2b until she re-touches 1b. However, if the BR makes this move toward 2b while in this “base path” she is committed to second base and may not then move back toward 1b.