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Baserunning

Some points on Baserunning.
by pauleile
Tuesday 06 April 2004 – 09:54:33

Baserunning starts with the crack of the bat. The initial reaction of a player is to watch the ball as it leaves the bat rather than concentrating their efforts on getting a good jump from the plate. Good batting mechanics allow a baserunner get a good jump from the plate where the back foot must
explode toward 1st after contact is made.

You should always run in a straight line towards 1st no matter where you end up in the batters box. When running through 1st, never leap for the base. Hit the front of the base. Leaping takes away from your time to reach 1st and can also cause injury due to over-stretching. Always run 100% to a point past 1st when you are not making a turn. Do not consider 1st the end of the line as it may cause you to slow down.

As you approach 1st, the runner must observe the 1st baseman?s feet. If you see them come down the line, you should slide to the foul side of the base. If the 1st baseman goes for the ball into foul territory, you should slide to the inside of the base.

On any ground ball to the infield, it is the runner?s responsibility to look for the ball overthrown after crossing the base. Do not rely on the 1st base coach.

If the pitcher is covering 1st by running down the baseline and they penetrate your line, he can be bumped. Do not throw a shoulder into the pitcher.

Turns at all bases should be sharp with 100% effort. Hit the inside of the base with either foot so you never have to break stride. Lean hard to the inside of the field, bending the inside leg in order to get maximum push from the base.

It is the baserunner?s responsibility to know the complete situation at all times. Your first act should be to pick up the 3rd base coach for a possible sign. After every pitch, you should return to the base and look for a sign as quickly as possible.

Runners should be looking for a good lead at 1st as well as a comfortable one. You should have most of your lead when the pitcher begins their stretch. When you have your lead you might have to dive back to the base on a pickoff attempt. Go back to the base on the inside of the base to hinder the 1st baseman from catching the ball. You cannot push or shove them, but you can block their attempt with your body. You should dive back leading with your right hand. This turns your face away from being hit by the ball and faces it to foul territory to look for an overthrow.

If the steal sign is on, you should not go if you get a poor jump. If there is a runner 2nd, you must wait to see the runner on 2nd break before you can go. A good catcher will throw to 2nd on a double steal if they see the runner on 2nd getting a good jump, so the runner from 1st should always hustle expecting the throw to go there.

When a ?steal? or ?hit and run? sign is given, you should start with the crossover step, moving the left foot towards second. On a hit and run you should look to the plate after 3-4 steps.

Always tag up at all bases on any fly ball which is foul. Any time a runner ahead is tagging, the runner on 1st should also tag.

You should go all out in to 2nd all the time and always slide. There is never an excuse for loafing and not sliding.

On any bunt attempt the runner on first must not commit until they are sure the ball is on the ground.

The runner on 1st should never allow themselves to be tagged by the 2nd baseman on a groundball. If it is fielded in front of you, stop and force the 2nd baseman to come to you. If the ball is hit behind you and no one is covering 2nd, pick up the 3rd base coach prior to make the turn.

When going from 1st to 3rd on a base hit, the general rule is, if the ball is hit in front of you, decide on your own; on a ball hit behind you, look for help from the 3rd base coach.

A runner at 2nd base should advance on a ball hit to their left with less than two outs. They should also be able to advance when the 3rd baseman is playing deep or has to go in for a slow roller or deep to field a ball.

When there are runners at 1st and 3rd and a short fly ball is hit fair or foul away from 2nd, both runners should tag up and force the defence to make the decision as to where to throw the ball. If it is thrown to second, you score; if it is thrown to the plate, the runner on 1st should advance to 2nd.

Anytime with runners on 1st and 3rd, the runner on 3rd should go on all groundballs. With one out and runners on 2nd and 3rd, the runner on 3rd might also go on a groundball. Anytime the throw beats you to the plate, you should get into a rundown and allow the batter/runner to advance to 2nd before the tag.

With no outs, a runner at 3rd should not take any risks in respect to a close play at the plate, and should make sure of reaching home standing up on any wild pitches and pass balls. The more outs there are, the more the runner should gamble depending on the score.

All baserunners must make sure the pitcher delivers to the plate on all 3-2 counts/2 out situations. Always keep an eye on the catchers throw back to the pitcher.

In a rundown situation, the back runner should advance to the next base with no or one out. With two outs the back runner should give the lead runner a base to return to. The runner in the rundown can run into a fielder in the baseline as long as he does not throw a shoulder or arm at the fielder.

Take a few more chances on the basepaths when ahead in the score; be more cautious when behind. Always give 100%.

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