Bases Loaded, one out!!!!! Was I right???
Photo: Bill Stanton : Checkswing.com
Ross asked: Hi Rick,
I enjoyed looking at your website tonight and I'm pleased I found it!!! I have a very simple question for you. My travel ball team played in a tournament this past weekend and I was cornered after a game we lost by a couple dads! They said I screwed up!! I need your expert opinion!!
This is the situation, we are losing 4 to 3 in the 5th of a 6 inning game. We have bases loaded, one out, the batter at the plate has the highest batting average and slugging % on the team. He is not a fast base runner. He hit into the first 4-3 double play of the season. The dads said I should have made him bunt!! Was I correct in letting him swing away!! Thanks for your verification!!!
Rick answered: Ross, thank you for your submission. I am glad you are enjoying the site.
I would have taken my chances and let him hit away. If it were the 6th inning, I would give a little more thought to having him bunt, but you had a good opportunity to not only tie the game, but go ahead. With your best hitter, in a spot where they have to pitch to him, it was a solid decision.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer here. Had he hit the ball in the gap and scored 3 runs, you held on and won, everyone would have said it was a great call.
The same would be true if you decided to have him bunt, the run scored and you went on to win. If you didn't go on to win, they would say you wasted your best hitter, with the bases loaded, with a bunt just to tie the game.
On the reverse, had you made him bunt and he popped the ball up, ending in a double play, everyone would have said you were nuts for not letting your best hitter hit away with the bases loaded and the game on the line.
It is virtually impossible to be right in everyone's eyes. As a coach, you have to trust your instints and gut feelings, along with the knowledge you have about your personnel, things you know because of working with them every day.
When it works you are a genius, when it doesn't your not.
Keep on making those solid decisions. It truly is a great game, unlike no other.
Good luck with the rest of your season!
Yours in baseball,