The Ole Ball Game

Situations, Squeeze Bunt: The Secret To Bunt Defense Is Decisiveness On The Part Of The Defensive Team!

squeeze bunt ~ 1957 world series

Situations, squeeze bunt; where you have a runner at third, or second and third, generally with less than two outs.

It becomes a possiblity with two outs should the infield corner defense be caught deep, to where the offense feels they can score the run by bunting and beating it out to first base.

In these situations, there are two types of bunts the offense could use, a suicide squeeze, or a safety squeeze.

Both require the same basic defensive assignments, with the exceptions noted below.


checking runner at third

  • With this bunt, the runner is going on the pitcher's motion to the plate, as he would if trying to steal home. The batter's responsibility is to bunt the ball on the ground, and is bunting whatever you throw him.

  • Since the batter is bunting whatever you throw him, if you see before you release the ball that the runner is going, throw him a ball out of the strike zone, it will be much harder to bunt fair and on the ground.

    Preferably the pitch would be down and away from lefties, down and in to righties. That puts the ball in the best location for the catcher to make his tag.

  • Whether or not your league allows leadoffs for base runners, the pitcher should throw from the stretch, as it takes less time to get the ball to the plate. He is also able to watch the runner and determine if he is running on the pitch.

As the runner breaks for the plate:

suicide squeeze and safety squeeze

P: The pitcher is responsible for the bunt in front of him. His most important job is the location of the pitch. Ball should be down and in to a right hander, down and away from a lefty.

C: The catcher is responsible for the tag at home. If the ball is bunted, depending on where the bunt goes, he is either fielding it, or calling out where the play is to go.

1B: Crashes like the third baseman, and is responsible for balls bunted up the first base side.

2B: Covers 1B.

SS: Covers 3B, in the event the squeeze turns into a rundown situation, so you have someone on third base.

3B: Yells to alert the rest of the infield of the squeeze and breaks hard towards home plate with the runner, responsible for balls bunted up the third base side.

LF: Coming hard towards 3B line.

CF: Coming hard to 2B.

RF: Coming to 1B line and up towards 1B, lined up as much as possible with the throw.

Safety Squeeze

With a safety squeeze, the runner is taking his secondary lead and reading the bunt. The batter is bunting only strikes, looking to bunt the ball up either side, away from the pitcher.

If he is successful with that, the runner will break for the plate when he sees the ball is headed for the ground.

squared to bunt

  • The player fielding the bunt is responsible to take a look at the runner on third to hold him if possible, then throw to first to get the runner.

  • If the runner is coming and they have a play, throw to the plate. If not, first base. You need to get an out somewhere in this situation.

  • Outfielders all have the same responsibility as in the first situation squeeze bunt.

Squeeze Bunt Tips ~ From the Dugout

squeeze bunt tips ~ from the dugout

  • For situation squeeze bunts, deliver a pitch that is difficult to bunt, yet the catcher can handle and make the tag if the ball is not bunted.

    I personally like a fastball, down and in to a right handed batter, down and away to a lefty.

    That pitch puts your catcher in a great position for a tag, and requires the batter to go from the top of the strike zone to below the strike zone with his bat.

  • Often younger players will drop just their bat barrel to get to the pitch, bunting the ball up in the air, creating a possible double play situation.

  • Some coaches like to throw the ball up above the strike zone. The concern there is the difficulty it creates for the catcher. It is a hard pitch to bunt, but the catcher has to go a long way to get it. As players get older, many teams will have the catcher stand up as soon as they are alerted to the runner, which alerts the pitcher to go high with the pitch. It takes some advanced experience with the game to get the hang of that, for both the pitcher and the catcher.

  • As you can tell, every player has somewhere they need to be. If they find themselves with nowhere to go, they are wrong.

  • Getting outfielders to back up bases in a timely manner is always a challenge; but worth the effort. It may not happen often, but when it does they need to be there.

With runners on second and third, the defense needs to be aware of the double squeeze. The difference here is that the runner on second is running as well, with the full intention to score as the ball is thrown to first base.

The defensive solution is for the second baseman to bounce off first base after the put out looking for the runner from second.

The players backing up at third are responsible for verbally alerting those directly involved in the play, that the second runner is coming.

Failure to keep track of that trail runner can lead to a lost run and defensive embarassment. Team work and communication!

The secret to bunt defense is decisiveness on the part of the defensive team. That is developed through repetitions and dealing with all that might happen in a practice setting, before it happens to them in a game.

Decisiveness creates confidence, which is the building block for baseball players at all levels.

Luck Is When Preparation Meets Opportunity

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