The Ole Ball Game

Sacrifice Bunt Defense ~ Everybody Has A Job ~ If You Aren't Moving, You Should Be!

sacrifice bunt

In the game of baseball, when the hitter squares to bunt, as in the image above, the sacrifice bunt defense springs into action.

All 9 players on the defense have a specific job to do, some have a second responsibility depending on which player ends up fielding the ball.

The major rule in this situation becomes, get an out somewhere. While erasing the lead runner is always desirable, more often than not the recorded out will be the batter/runner.

In this situation, the offense is willing to give up an out to move the runner into scoring position. The defense needs to take that out. The situation becomes increasingly complicated when no out is recorded, there are now two or three runners and still no outs.

When all 9 players are on the same page, moving confidently to their responsibilities, communicating on the run, it is a thing of beauty, and one mark of a confident team.

In the situation referred to below, all the things of beauty disappeared. It can happen even at the Major League level when there are communication failures.

Sacrifice Bunt Defense Tips ~ From the Dugout

sacrifice bunt defense Tips ~ from the dugout

This situation came up in a Diamondbacks / Padres game in June 09.

Top of the 8th inning, Padres ahead 5-4. The Padre's leadoff hitter singles. The second hitter bunts the ball up the third base line, causing the D'backs releif pitcher to field the ball going away from 1st base, wildly throwing off balance wide of first base, past the first baseman, careening off the wall and out towards right field.

The D'backs right fielder had a long way to come and when he got to the ball, he booted it back towards the first base dugout.

When the dust cleared, the runner from first base had scored, and the hitter was standing on third base. Score was now 6-4.

The pitcher's throwing error carried over into a meltdown in which there were three additional walks and one wild pitch. Score ended up at 8-4, a lead that turned out to be insurmountable.

All of that was created by misplaying a sacrifice bunt, a lapse of defensive communication which would have stopped the pitcher from making the throw, ultimately leading to his meltdown and the Padres' big inning.

The biggest factor in all sacrifice bunt defense is communication and decisiveness on the part of the players. A moment of indecision, or the failure to communicate where the ball should be thrown most often results in all runners safe and the possibility of a defensive meltdown.

As mentioned in the MLB situation earlier, these problems arise at all levels of the game, and can create the same types of chaos. Just because a player gets paid a large sum of money to play the game does not guarantee all situations will be handled as drawn up. That is what makes this game so special, the challenge to do more things right than your opponent, each day you step on the field.

To Win A Championship You Don't Need To Be The Best Team In Your League, City, State, Or Country ~ Just The Better Team Each Time You Play!

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