The Ole Ball Game

what is a hit and run

by Chris Gonzalez
(Riverside, CA)

Chris asked: What is a hit and run?


Rick answered: Great question Chris!

A hit and run is where base runners, either on first base, second base, or both first and second base are running on the pitch.

When they get 2-3 steps into their steal the runner should take a "flash" look towards home plate to see what is happening, while still running full speed towards the next base.

If the ball is not hit, the play turns into a straight steal for the base runner.

The hitter is swinging at the pitch, whether it is a strike or not. If the hitter cannot hit it, his swing keeps the catcher back a little longer, hopefully so the runner or runners are able to steal the base.

The hit and run is an exciting play, due to the fact that when the runner or runners start to go, everyone on the defense has something new to worry about.

The catcher is worried about a possible throw to make, the first baseman is yelling out that the runner is going as he shuffles off the base.

The second baseman either has to cover the bag, or back up that throw. The shortstop also has the same responsibility.

The third baseman needs to cover the bag, if there is a runner on second. If not a throw from the catcher, there may be a throw from an outfielder, based on whether the hitter puts the ball in play.

The outfielders all have to adjust their thinking as to where the throw will go, based on what they see in front of them.

Ideally, a right handed hitter is looking to hit the ball hard on the ground, behind the runner, that is to right field. Generally the second baseman moves to cover the base, which leaves a big hole on that side of the field.

With a left handed hitter up, more often the shortstop is covering the base and the hitter is looking to hit the ball towards left field, through the area vacated by the shortstop.

Biggest coaching point is to hit the ball hard, on the ground, somewhere. Fly balls and pop ups often result in double plays.

It is always a requirement that the hitter swing at the pitch, to cover for the runner.

The hit and run is an excellent way to jump start an offense on a sluggish day, or force one of your hitters in a slump to have to swing and stop thinking so much.

The same thing can be run as a bunt and run, substituting the hitter bunting, rather than swinging away. Just as exciting, as it forces the defense to move and think on the run.

I hope this provides some insight into this very exciting part of the game. The hit and run and bunt and run are terrific offensive weapons.

Yours in baseball,

Rick

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