Obviously if you score more runs than the other team at the end of the game...you can notch another W on the tally. So what we need to do as coaches is have some plays that make things happen...we need to make the defense execute. This play that I am going to share with you is one of my favorites and has won some close games for me. You may think it's too difficult a play, or you may believe that it is not for your age group. I have seen it work all the way from 8-9 yr. olds to my high school kids. As the kids get older and more experienced and athletic, it may not work.
Situation: You have runners on second and third or have the bases loaded with less than two outs and a close game with a batter that isn't one of the best.
Play: Let me just tell you right away that this is going to be a suicide squeeze play. As a coach and a team, you need to sell your play to the defense and make them believe you are not going to squeeze...because in this situation, they think its coming. Here are two musts when using a squeeze play...first you must not squeeze on the first pitch, because that is when the defense is most prepared...second you must wait until the pitcher throws a strike to your batter...for all you know the pitcher may walk your batter. A rule of thumb for me is to wait to squeeze until the pitcher delivers a strike.
Ok...when the pitcher commits his motion to the plate, my runner at third is breaking for home. If the pitcher is not smart and in the wind up, then my runner breaks when the correct foot goes back off the rubber (rocker step) and commits to home. When my batter bunts the ball in play, the pitcher or catcher fields the ball and they realize they have no play at the plate. Their next instinct is to get an out and what do you always do...get the runner who bunted the ball. What they don't know is that my runner at second broke for third a second or two before my runner at third did. By the time the C or P field the ball, my runner at second is rounding third. They complete the throw to the first baseman, and by that time, my runner from second is about to score.
The defense is in utter chaos. They couldn't get the runner from third, so they immediately try to get the batter at first. If the team is a great communicator with themselves, this play may not work. If the defense has great arms and accurate throws, this may not work. If you have slow runners...it won't work...then again you shouldn't even run the play. One of the biggest keys to this at the higher levels more than at the lower levels, is the whether or not the first baseman is left or right handed. If he is LH, he has to completely turn his body to the plate and still make a good, strong, accurate throw (after receiving the throw from the C or P) to get my runner from second. Chances there are slim. If he is RH, he doesn't have to make that turn. So understand that the more athletic and smart the players are, the chances of this play working are slim. That is why this play works ALL the time at a lower level. Communication is key if you want to defend this play. More often than not, this does not happen, and you score both runs with one bunt. All of a sudden I am up by one run instead of down by one.