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Hit & Run Responsibilities in Baseball

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The hit and run is one of the most basic offensive plays in the game.

Base Runner’s Responsibility

The hit and run starts with the runner on first base.Get your lead off of the base, and then take off for second once the pitcher delivers the pitch. Here are a few important points to keep in mind:

Make sure the pitcher goes home: If there’s a good situation for a hit and run, the opponent will know it, too. Be aware that the pitcher might try to pick you off. You’re not trying to steal the bag straight up, so an outstanding jump doesn’t matter all that much. It’s okay to wait an extra instant to make sure the pitcher throws home before you go.

Take a peek: After two or three strides, turn your head towards the plate and take a peek to see what happened. Depending on the outcome of the pitch, you may need to try for third base, slide into second, or stop and get back to first. Keep your ears open and listen to your coaches, but also try to catch a glimpse of the action.

Pick up your third base coach: If the play is executed correctly and the batter hits it on the ground, you may or may not be able to see the ball. As soon as you hear the bat make contact, look up and find your coach. He can see the play, so he’ll make the decision whether to stop you at second base or bring you around to third.

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Batter’s Responsibility

The hit and run is entirely predicated on the batter’s ability to hit the ball fair. How well he handles the bat and where he hits the ball will determine the play’s level of success.

Here are the most important points to keep in mind:

Don’t chase a pitch in the dirt: The general rule on a hit and run is to swing no matter what. Whether it’s way outside, over your head, or the nastiest curveball you’ve ever seen, you need to swing and get the bat on the ball to protect the runner.

Get on top of the baseball: your primary focus is to hit the ball on the ground. A fly ball might keep you out of the double play, but the runner will have to go back to first and the play will be wasted.

Hit behind the runner: This is where bat control comes into play. In most cases, the second baseman will take the throw at second base on a steal. As a result, when the runner takes off on a hit and run, the second baseman will have to leave his position to cover the bag. This leaves a big hole open at second base, which is the ideal place to hit the ball.

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY: baseball.isport.com

How to Hit and Run in Baseball

Hit and Run in BaseballThe hit and run is one of the most basic offensive plays in the game.  With a runner on first base, the strategy calls for the runner to break towards second base with the pitch and for the batter to swing at the pitch, no matter where it is, in order to put the ball in play.The hit and run is often used in situations when the offense is trying to generate a spark of momentum. With the hit and run, it’s especially important to have a smart runner on the bases and a batter who can handle the bat.

The strategy has a number of objectives:

  • The runner’s break for second base, as on a stolen base attempt, means that one of the infielders has to cover the bag. This opens a hole on either the right or left side of the infield, increasing the gap for a ground ball to break through to the outfield.
  • If the batter hits a ground ball at a fielder, the chance of turning a double play is much reduced because the runner will already be part way to second base when the ball is hit.
  • If the ball is hit safely, the runner will likely advance an extra base because he is already running.

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Here are a few situations where it might make sense to hit and run:

  • To stay out of a double play: If there’s a good contact hitter at the plate, the hit and run is a good way to avoid a ground ball double play.
  • To get a jump on the base paths: You want to start the runner early, but you don’t trust him to steal a base. The hit and run is a good way to “protect” a runner who doesn’t have exceptional speed, since there likely won’t be a play at second base.
  • To advance the runner: Instead of squaring around and bunting to move the runner up, you send the runner early and try to hit the ball on the ground.

The hit-and-run is a very old strategy, dating back at least to the 1890’s. A variant of the hit-and-run is the “run-and-hit” in which the runner breaks as if for a stolen base and the batter has the option to swing or not, depending on the runner’s jump and the quality of the pitch (any time there are 3 balls, the play is correctly referred to as a “run-and-hit” as the batter can take without need to protect the runner). The “run-and-hit requires a good base-stealer and a disciplined hitter to execute properly and is not really any more advantageous than a straight stolen base attempt.

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