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Sacrifice Bunt Wheel Play ~ When Getting The Out At Third Base Is Essential!

sacrifice bunt wheel play

In this sacrifice bunt wheel play, each individual has a specific assignment within the situation.

This defense, used with a runner at second base, or first and second, provides a different look to the offense, mostly when it is essential to get the out at third base.


P: Waits to throw until the SS breaks for 3B, otherwise the runner can beat SS to the base. Pitcher is then responsible for the bunt in front of the mound.

C: Fields anything he can get in front of the plate, and also makes the call as to where the play is going.

1B: Crashes and has any bunt up the first base side.

2B: Cover first base.

SS: Keep runner close at 2B, then starts the wheel play by breaking for 3B.

3B: Crashes on pitch.

LF: Backup 3B.

CF: Come hard to 2B, may be able to back pick the runner from first.

RF: Backup throw to 1B.



Sacrifice Bunt Tips ~ From the Dugout

sacrifice bunt tips ~ from the dugout

  • Quite often the outfield responsibilities get overlooked in sacrifice bunt defenses.

    A bad throw, with two runners on and no outfielder backup, is going to score two runs and leave, at a minimum, a runner in scoring position at 2b.

    That becomes very demoralizing to the defense. The outfield backup can keep the second run from scoring and possibly keep the batter runner off 2B, making a big difference in what happens to their mental state.



  • The SS starts this play in motion when he breaks for third base. That signals the pitcher to deliver to the plate. Work the runner back, then break quickly off his hip straight to 3B.


  • With runners on first and second, the defense needs to remember that there is no one at 2B on the bunt, options are only 3B or 1B.

    Second base becomes an option after the put out, with a possible back pick to the CF.



  • Defense starts with the idea they are going to get the out at third, and looks there first. If it isn't there, ball goes to first. There is no one covering second on this play, basically everything has been committed to getting the lead runner at 3B.




Wheel Play Pickoff

wheel play backdoor pick

This pickoff runs directly off the same action as the bunt defense.

Defensive team needs to make the base runner believe the wheel play is on. Good base runners will get back out into their secondary as the shortstop heads for 3B, with the pick taking advantage of his movement.

This pickoff is a great surprise move, which can be a game and momentum changer, when executed correctly.

P: Looks back at runner, turns head back to home plate when SS breaks for 3B. Counts 1001, 1002 ~ turns and throws to second base.

C: Stays at home plate, looking to receive a pitch.

1B: Crashes the plate, yelling bunt.

2B: Breaks to 2B, when the SS clears the runner on his way to third.

SS: Shadows runner, then breaks off his right hip, running hard for third.

3B: Crashes plate, yelling bunt.

LF: Heads to foul line to backup 3B, in the event there becomes a rundown situation.

CF: Backs up 2B.

RF: Heads towards 2B.

Every One, On Every Play, Is In The Right Position




Sacrifice Bunt Diagrams


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