Friday Base Running Secrets – One Tough Base Running Decision
Not too much deflates a team more than having runners in scoring position, only to have them get out because of wrong base running decisions. Although they are difficult decisions and difficult to practice, practicing them leads to runs and wins, with the correct decisions.
Base Running Situation – Runner on second base only and a ground ball hit to the runners right. Of course, the inclination is to try to advance on ground balls, but when runners just run on this play, they often run into an easy out at third base.
What to do – Runner must be cautious on this play and make sure they can pass in front of the ball or simply hold up and wait for ball to go through or wait and try to advance after the throw to first. Players may not advance or may only advance one base with this method but it is much better than taking a runner out of scoring position by running into an easy out at third. At the young levels of ball it is difficult to make the long throw to first and then the long throw back to third, so just waiting for the first throw before advancing usually always works, when the ball is fielded by either the shortstop of third baseman. At the higher levels of ball, that base running philosophy does not always work.
How to Practice – Coaches has players play shortstop, third base, first base and left field and have runners take their lead from second base. After their secondary lead, coaches either roll or hit balls to short or third and have runners make their decision to run or hold up. Coaches can have the complete-play scenario play out with throws and all, or just have players decide to run to third or not. Once again, the rule of thumb is that if the base runner can pass in front of the ground ball, it is safe to run on the play, as it is very unlikely for the shortstop to be able to get them out at third with that kind of jump on the ball.