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The Hit and Run vs. Run and Hit

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Good coaches employ an aggressive approach with their offense attempting to find ways to score runs.  When an offense puts players in motion, the team places pressure on the defense to perform.  Even the threat of movement or speed on the bases changes or adjusts the thinking of the pitcher, catcher, and the defense. The hit and run and the run and hit are two different plays employed in different situations, but when run well, they can change the momentum in a game and cause excitement for the team and the fans.        

What is the hit and run?

A Hit-and-Run play happens when the baserunner (who only has average speed) takes a conservative lead and then steals second when he is sure that the pitcher is throwing the ball to the plate.  The hit and run is designed with the thought in mind that the team wants to stay out of a double play and move a player into scoring position, often by trading an out to make it happen.  The hit and run puts a high amount of responsibility on the hitter (who must handle the bat well) to hit the ball on the ground.  The coach will usually call for a hit and run in a fastball count (1-0 or 2-1) or a count where it is almost certain that he will have a fastball strike nearer to the heart of the plate.  In both of those counts, the hit and run is effective because the pitcher will often go after the hitter as he is trying to avoid having to pitch in a 2-0 or 3-1 count. Want the entire article? Click here to become a TBB member today?

Last Updated ( Thursday, April 23 2009 09:12 )  

Double Cut Relay Left Field Line

The Double Cut relay is one of the most beautifully choreagraphed plays in all of baseball.  The Double Cut is the defense's strongest weapon against balls hit down the line or in the alleys.  It requires speed, communication and quick decision making from all players on the field.  The relay's primary goal is to throw out the lead runner trying to score, while the secondary goal is to stop all runners from advancing extra bases.

A Double Cut situation is needed on ALL balls hit to the fence down the line or in the gaps.  In these cases, unless the runners are ridiculously slow, the defense must assume the runner(s) will advance at least two bases, so the defense will set up three (3) bases ahead of the lead runner.  In the flash video on the left, the offense starts with a runner on first base and a ball is hit down the left field line to the fence.

Step 1:  Immediately, the defense assumes a two-base advance, so the relay will be set up to throw to home plate (Runner 1st, three bases away).

Step 2:  Both LF and CF will sprint to the ball.  While the LF will most likely get to the ball first, the CF is there to help back up and help communicate the relay if necessary.  The RF moves down towards the infield to help back up a possible back pick throw to 2B.

Step 3:  The shortstop and second baseman will sprint into relay position, calling to the outfielders for the relay as loudly as possible.  In most cases, the shortstop will handle the lead relay while the second baseman positions himself 5 yards behind the shortstop to protect from any errant throws over the SS's head or short hops.  The relay must be seamless and any missed throws will allow the runners to advance and score, so the second baseman's responsibility is extremely important to this play.  In a perfect relay, you should be able to draw a straight line from the LF, through the relay INFs to the target; in this case, home plate.

Step 4:  While the third baseman covers 3B, the first baseman sprints to second base (trailing the runner) and awaits a possible back pick play to 2B.  This is extremely important, as more often than not, most of the attention is focused on the primary runner and a play at 3B or Home plate.  Many times, the trailing runner can lose focus and round 2B too far and can be back picked at 2B so LOOK FOR THIS PLAY.

Step 5:  The Catcher remains at home and directs the play, lining up the relay Infielders and making the final decision on which option the defense will take.

Option 1: (Primary Play) Relay to HOME
Option 2: Relay/Backpick to 3B
Option 3: Backpick to 2B

Shown at Left:  Option 2

In this video, the defense realizes that although the lead runner (primary play) will score, the batter runner can be easily thrown out at 3B.  The Catcher in this case makes the decision to divert the relay to 3B and nail the batter runner at 3rd.
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