Base running Guidelines
By Dick Thompson (Vancouver, WA)
YOUR DUTIES AS A BASE RUNNER
As a base runner/batter you should know the following:
All of these affect your strategy and decisions as a base runner trying to
score for the team. Listen and watch the base coach for instructions and
directions. If you are not sure what to do, then ask the base coach. Call
time out if necessary. We cannot afford to squander a base runner and an
opportunity to score.
BASIC BASERUNNING RULES
HOME TO FIRST BASE
So now you hit the ball. RUN! ! ! ! Run through the bag at first base unless the first base coach is telling you different. As your foot hits the bag, sneak a peek to the right to see if the ball was overthrown or is loose.
As you are running to first base the base coach will point to second and
yell 2 if you should continue on to second base. Before you get to first
base swerve out to the right. Hit the inside corner of the base and drive
as straight as you can toward second base.
The base coach may also tell you to "round and look". This means you should
round first base, but look to pick up where the ball is. Typically, this
means you will not be able to go to second unless the other team botches
a throw-in, a catch or falls asleep.
If the ball you hit was right to the first baseman who stays where she is to tag you, then STOP! This is a good habit to build for when there are runners on base. By stopping, the first baseman must come tag you and cannot concern themselves with any runners on base. By running into a tag, you give the other team a chance to get a double play. If there are other runners on base, fall down to the first base side just before the tag is made. This makes the first baseman bend and reach to get the out and allows the runners more time to safely advance.
Well, you made it. You are on first base and are feeling pretty good. The
crowd is cheering and your coach is telling you what a good job you did.
Your job next is to get into scoring position. Scoring position is considered
to be either second or third bases. From second base, you should be able
to score on an outfield single. Even with two outs, a runner on second is
a threat to score. Basic guidelines you should follow at first are:
Passed ball-GO! ! ! This is the easiest base to steal
on a passed ball since the catcher must find the ball and throw it accurately
90-110 feet. With a decent lead-off, you will only have to run some 50 feet
to beat the throw.
Pop-up in foul territory-Tag up. You can advance after the catch if
they fall asleep.
Ground ball-RUN! ! ! ! It's a force play. It doesn't matter where the ball is hit. Once you know the ball will be on the ground, you should be running hard. If the ground ball is to the second baseman, who wants to try to tag you and have a chance for a double play, then stop! If they are close enough to tag you, fall down and away from them. Make them bend over to get you. Hopefully, this will save the batter going to first from being out as well as allowing other runners to advance.
Fly ball to right field-Go part way. The distance will depend on where
the ball is hit and how deep. Turn and watch the play. It doesn't make sense
to tag up automatically since any decent right fielder will throw you out
at second after a catch. If it drops, take off. If it's caught, get back
to the bag. If a ball is hit to right field and drops in, you should be thinking
about making it to third base because of the length of the throw. Look for
the third base coach as you come into second because usually you will be
called to third base.
Fly ball to center field-Go part way and maybe most of the way. It
depends on where the ball is hit and how deep. If the ball drops, you don't
want to leave yourself in a force-out situation at second base. If it is
caught you don't want to be doubled off. The deeper the ball is hit, the
farther you may want to go toward second. It makes little sense to tag up
automatically, since it is usually a short throw to second and the odds
successfully advancing are slim.
Fly ball to left field-Go most of the way to second unless it's a short fly ball. If it's deep you should be at second base. Again, it will be unusual if you could tag up and advance after a catch. If the ball is dropped or misplayed, you should get third base and maybe home.
Now you are a real threat to score! You should get a more aggressive lead
off the bag at second than at any other base because it is the longest throw
for the catcher. By getting an aggressive lead you can improve your chances
of scoring on a single or an error. Also, if you get a big lead and the catcher
ignores you, steal third base on a delay. You know how fast you are, what
the odds are and the game situation.
When you get to second you should check the outfielders behind you and see how deep they are playing. You should also try to steal the other teams pitching signs from the catcher. We will tell you how to communicate the next pitch to the batter as part of our team signs. Remember, when you get to second you should be thinking check the outfield, steal the signs and be aggressive with your lead-off. Basic guidelines you should follow at second are:
Passed ball-GO! ! ! This is tougher than first base
since it is a shorter throw for the catcher but if the ball gets by the catcher,
you should be able to get to third safely.
Pop-up in foul territory-Tag up. You can advance after the catch if
they fall asleep.
Ground ball to the shortstop-Force her to look at you. Stomp your
feet if you have to. You have some time before the second baseman can get
to the bag behind you so make her worry about you. Don't get so close she
can tag you or run you down. If you got a good lead and she does throw it
to first base, you can then take off to third if you have enough time. Your
primary goal is to make her worry about you and help her make a bad throw
to first by hurrying, since you distracted her. This will also hopefully
get you to third base. If she throws the ball away, you might have a chance
to score. The most important thing is to not run into an
out since you are still in scoring position.
Ground ball to first or second base-GO! ! ! This
should be automatic. Even if they decide to make a play on you. Because you
got an aggressive lead and jump, there should be no problem making third
base. Even if they get you they still left a runner on base. They will throw
the ball away trying to get you more times than you will be put out.
Ground ball to the pitcher or third baseman-Similar to the shortstop, make them look at you. Stomp your feet. Once you have made them look at you, you increase the chance they will throw the ball away at first base. If they throw it, and you have enough time, get to third base. Again, don't make a stupid out since you are in scoring position.
Ground ball with a runner behind you on first-RUN! ! !
It doesn't matter where it is hit, there is a force play at third.
Fly ball to right field-Tag up. Go immediately back to the bag if there is any chance the ball will be caught. Once the ball is caught you should attempt to get to third base. This shouldn't be a problem unless it was a very shallow fly ball.
Fly ball to center field-Tag up. Go immediately back to the bag if
there is any chance the ball will be caught. Once the ball is caught it will
depend on how deep the ball was hit and/or if the outfielder had to turn
her back to make the catch. This will require judgment on your part.
Fly ball to left field-Go part way to third. How far depends on how
deep the ball is hit, but usually you will never want to go more than half
way. If the ball is caught, you probably wouldn't be able to tag up and advance
anyway. Therefore, we will gamble on a dropped ball and maybe get home because
of your lead.
Now you are only 60 feet away from getting your team a run. Scoring runs
is how you win ball games. Runners on third with less than two outs should
score most of the time. Even with two outs, you can score a lot of the time
if you use your base running smarts. The first thing you should do is always
run and take your lead-off in foul territory. A batted ball that hits you
in fair territory means you are out. Therefore, stay on the right side of
the foul line. Basic guidelines you should follow are:
Passed ball-GO, usually. This would depend on the
game situation. Ask the third base coach, if he doesn't instruct you when
you get there. We may be less aggressive, for example, if you are the only
base runner in a tie ball game, in the bottom of the seventh with no outs.
In that situation, we have at least two batters who only need to get a decent
ball in play to score you. The general rule however, is that you should plan
on going as soon as you can tell the ball will be bouncing around in the
dirt far enough away from the plate or over the catchers head. You should
also plan on sliding.
Ground ball to the first baseman-Come off the bag and take a look.
If they hold their position and tag the batter then it is doubtful that you
can score, so don't risk it. If they turn to make an underhand flip to the
bag or if they try to outrun the batter to the bag, then plan on scoring
if you got a good lead.
Ground ball to the second baseman-SCORE! ! ! ! If
the second baseman was playing at their standard depth or deeper, you should
have no problem scoring. If they have been pulled in to cut the run off,
you might have a problem. The rule of thumb however, is that you should run
immediately and score.
Ground ball to the shortstop-Get off the bag but not so far that you can't get back if they throw it to third. You can be off the bag as far as the third baseman is down the line. Make the shortstop look at you and try to distract her into a bad throw. If she throws it, there should be a good chance for you to score.
Ground ball to third base-Stay behind them. Don't get so close they
can tag you or run you down. Make them hear you, though. Stomp your feet
if you have to. Distract them into a bad throw or no throw at all. Just don't
get tagged out. Usually, you will not make it home if they make a good throw
to first, so your job is to play it safe but be disruptive. Keep alert for
the bad throw that you can score on. Also, don't be a sucker for a fake throw.
Ground ball to the pitcher-Get off the bag far enough to also make
them look at you. You will not be able to score unless they throw it away,
so don't take a lot of risk, but be disruptive.
Fly ball-TAG UP ! ! ! ! I don't care where the ball
is. Tag up on all fly balls in fair or foul territory with less than two
outs. As soon as you are sure that the ball will not be
caught then you should score. If the ball will be caught, the third base
coach will tell you when to leave, or you can sneak a peek at the play. Also,
don't assume you can't score on a foul pop-up. Many times the defense will
go to sleep and will be too busy congratulating each other to notice you
scoring. On any pop-up where the catcher leaves the plate, check to see if
anyone is covering for her.
Safety squeeze-On a safety squeeze bunt you should take off as soon as you know the ball will hit the ground and not be caught in the air. You will need a good jump off the third base bag and will slide into home. This is a gamble play and will be called by the coaches.