Think the Game

Runner Struck By a Batted Ball

Note: This situation occurred in a 2016 CWS game between Arizona and UC Santa  Barbara

 Situation: In a 0-0 game, the offense (Arizona) has a runner at 1st base with one out. 

The Play:  The hitter gets an outside fastball and hits it hard on the ground in the 4-hole  between the first and second baseman, the defense  is pinching closer to second base in  double play depth. The runner finishes his secondary lead and reads the ball off the  bat, destined for right field. He wants to get to 3rd base on the single, so he takes off  running, trying to get past the batted ball before it gets to his running lane. After two  steps, the runner realizes that he will not be able to get past the ball. As he tries to  hop over the ball, the ball takes its first bounce on the dirt, skips up, and  strikes his  back foot. 

The Outcome:  The runner is called out and the hitter is rewarded a hit and first base.  Instead of having runners at 1st and 2nd (or possibly 3rd) with 1 out, there are 2 outs  and a runner at first, out of scoring position. 

What Went Wrong:  We often see plays like this happen. The player makes an  aggressive call, but misreads either his speed, or the speed of the batted ball. If you are going to try to run in front of the ball, you need to be 100% sure that you can  make it. If you know that the ball will get through the infield, it is better to wait for  the ball to get past you rather than risk an out. In this situation, you would much  prefer to have runners at 1st and 2nd with 1 out. While the intent of the runner  (wanting to get to 3rd with 1 out) was good, he put his team in a difficult situation  and in this case, squashed the potential rally. Knowing the type of runner you are  and field conditions (fast, slow, etc.) can help you avoid taking unnecessary risks  like this. Luckily for the runner, Arizona held on to win the game and he was off the  hook!