One of the most overlooked, yet essential plays in baseball is the sacrifice bunt.
First off: A sacrifice bunt is in the name a sacrifice. You as a baseball player are sacrificing your at-bat to the betterment of the team. It is one the coolest part of being a good teammate is to give up yourself for your team to succeed.
Situation: There are 3 situations that call for a sacrifice bunt. We will go over all three and your responsibility as a player to succeed.
Situation #1: Runner at first base: The hitter’s responsibility is to bunt the ball to the first base side of the infield. The hitter wants to bunt the ball to the first base side because the first baseman has to stay at first to hold on the base runner and cannot crash until the pitch is delivered. On the contrary, the 3rd baseman can crash early because he has not defensive responsibilities. So commit to bunting the ball to the first base side.
Secondly, square to bunt when the pitcher lifts his leg in his windup. Set your bat angle toward the first base side. Bend your legs and execute the bunt the way your coach has taught you.
Thirdly, it is called a sacrifice – so do not run until you complete the bunt. Don’t be in a hurry to run. Remember – you are sacrificing yourself for the betterment of the team. Some players might actually tap their back knee to the ground when executing the bunt to make sure they bunt before they run.
Execute bunt – sacrifice yourself – get high fives from your teammates.
Situation #2: Runner at 2nd or 1st and 2nd: This situation calls for the bunter to bunt the ball to the 3rd base side of the infield. The 3rd baseman has to stay home because of the threat of the steal. The first baseman can crash early so we don’t want to bunt the ball to him.
So set your bat angle to the 3rd base side and follow the fundamental from above.
Situation #3: Suicide squeeze play. The ultimate sacrifice in baseball. Your job as the bunter is to get a bunt on the ground no matter where the pitch is thrown. The bunter does not want to show that he is bunting until the pitcher has committed towards home and has separated his hands.
When bunting a suicide squeeze, the bunter has to fully commit in his mind that he will get the bunt down. The direction of the bunt is not as important as the situations of above. Simply – get the bunt on the ground. Do not run until the bunt is accomplished and then run.
Take pride when the coach gives you a suicide squeeze because it means he has confidence in you.
Sacrifice Bunts can become a tool to make a baseball player more valuable to his team. Baseball is a team game and a player who can sacrifice himself for his team is a valuable team player and one who will be embraced
Until Next Time,