Retouching bases after an out of play award of bases

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    Runner on 1st. 0 out. The batter hits a deep fly ball to the gap in left-centre field. The runner from 1st takes off on the hit thinking the ball cannot be caught. The centre fielder makes a diving catch as the runner is between 2nd base and 3rd base. The runner does not see the catch and continues to round the bases. The defence throws the ball back to 1st base but the throw is wild. The runner crosses home plate just before the ball bounds out of play. The umpire awards the runner 3rd base. Can the runner go straight to 1st and the proceed to 3rd base touching 2nd on the way or must he return to 1st in reverse order touching all bases on the way before advancing on the award.
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      The OBR/NCAA runner, if he’s still in play and not in the dugout, must retouch home, third, second, and first before accepting his award to third base without touching a forward base first. If not, he would be subject to being called out on appeal.  For example, if an OBR/NCAA runner was between 2nd and 3rd when the ball went out of play, the runner could not continue forward touching third, and then begin his retreat to second and first…he must immediately retreat and touch second base and then first before advancing.  NFHS ruling is different on this play as the runner is only allowed to retreat to one base at all this case, first base…to retouch legally.  Although a runner in NFHS could physically retouch all bases in your example before advancing on his award, he would be subject to be called out on appeal as he defined his base as home plate as soon as he re-touched it after the ball going out of play.
      J.D. Leenen
      Seems to me the runner only needs to retouch home plate and perhaps 3rd base. Then he could cut straight accross the mound to 1st base and after touching it go to 3rd via and touching 2nd base. Here the so called “last time by”-principle would apply. Perhaps the runner does not even have to retouch 3rd before going back to 1st. I am curious what an MLB umpire would say on this matter.


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