The Situation: Runner on second, one out, bottom of the 8th. The offense is behind by one with their 3-hitter at the plate. The runner on second has average speed.
The Play: The runner at second knows that the 3-hitter is hot and he knows that he has to score to tie the game. He is being very aggressive on the bases and is ready to take off for the plate when the 3-hitter gets ahold of one. Sure enough, the hitter crushes the next pitch, an absolute shot towards the right side of the field. The runner takes off for the plate.
The Outcome: The second baseman leaps and makes the catch. The runner tries to turn back, but he’s already taken two hard steps. The second baseman flips the ball to second for an easy double play.
What Went Wrong?
On the bases, it is easy to get caught up in the moment. Everyone knows the rule for line drives: “Freeze, step back.” This rule is misleading and wrong. It separates the reaction into two parts and sets you up for a double play. On a line drive, take a step back. Just one hard step. That’s all it takes to stay out of the double play, and it probably won’t change your chances of scoring or advancing one bit. There is one other problem here with the runner’s mentality. With less than two outs and the 3-hitter up, its understandable that a runner would anticipate a hit and want to score. But you have to control your emotions on the bases. Even if you only advance to third on a hit, you’re still on third with less than two outs for the 4-hitter. Understand the full situation. Don’t get caught up in the game; slow it down and make smart choices on the bases. Think the Game!