When Bunting for a Base Hit is a Bad Idea
The main rule for bunting for a base hit is that it is for helping the team win, as opposed to bunting to pad the batting average, as in a game that is very one sided. Bunting, just to get a hit, when it has no relevance on the game outcome should be discouraged by coaches.
One thing I was good at in professional baseball, even in the major leagues, was bunting for a base hit. Of course, the opposition knew this was a big part of my game, so there was always a cat and mouse game to bunting for a base hit. A perfectly laid bunt works most of the time, but perfection is difficult, so the element of surprise becomes a big part of turning bunt attempts into hits.
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Initial Considerations when Bunting for a Base Hit
- Most bunt attempts for hits occur down the third base line, as that presents a longer throw to first, as well as eliminating the chances of being tagged out on the first base line.
- Bunting from the left side of home also gives batters a big advantage, as they are a few steps closer to home than the right-handed batter and is why many softball players learn to bunt and slap from the left side of home plate.
- Right-handed batters often have the advantage of the third baseman playing further from home, especially those with power.
- Other advantages may revolve around how the pitcher falls off the mound after delivering the ball.
Other Considerations for Bunting for a Base Hit
- Game situation is key – does the situation warrant more base runners or is it better to swing away and drive in a run or go for an extra base hit. Good coaches help players decide on what times are best for bunts, depending on game situations.
- Struggling hitters may want to consider it more as they need something to jump-start their hitting and confidence.
- Before two strikes is the time to bunt, once again, using the element of surprise to the best advantage.
- Hitters, who struggle with curve balls, may want to bunt when they believe a curve is coming, as that is a good pitch to get down.
- Third basemen, who are flat-footed and back on their heels, present a good opportunity for batters to lay one down.
- Similarly, when pitchers fall off the mound a great deal, bunting in the opposite direction may work.
- Batters should be precise with bunts down the lines because if the ball goes foul they are not out, but bunts towards the pitcher generally leads to outs.
As mentioned, most base hit bunt attempts are down the third base line, but pushing the bunt towards the second baseman is effective when speedy bunters can get the ball by the pitcher. Finally, it is important that bunters run in the correct running lane to first base, so they are not automatically out from running on the wrong side of the first base line.