The hit and run might be the most misused “play” in baseball. It appears to me that some coaches just use it to be using it.
There are only certain situations that one can use the hit and run. Conversely, there are times when you absolutely should NOT run the hit and run. Here's a breakdown of when you shoud, and should not, use the hit and run with your team.
Hit and Run Don't No.1: Two Outs
I am amazed at how many coaches attempt a hit and run with two outs. The purpose of the hit and run is to protect the runner stealing the base.
In theory, the batter is giving himself up. On a hit and run, if a batter gets a base hit, it is a bonus, nothing more and should not be expected.
Thus, a two out hit and run might get the base runner to the next base, but the batter will probably make an out which means the offensive team now gets to play defense. GET IT?
Hit and Run Don't No.2: Fast Baserunner on Base
Some kids are just plain fast and are going to steal a base 95 percent of the time. So why waste an out with your batter, if your runner on first can steal the base anyway?
A better strategy would be for the runner to steal second, and then bunt him over to third.
In theory, the coach was already resigned to giving up an out to move his runner to second; it should be no problem to give up that out to move him to third.
Hit and Run Don't No.3: Power Hitter Up to Bat
When I was younger I put on a hit and run with our four hitter. When I walked back into the dugout, the manager of the team ripped me one. My reply was that our four hitter wasn’t a power hitter, which got me off the hook.
However, your four hitter is paid to hit bombs, not give himself up to move a runner one base. So, in general, let the big guy hit.
The Do’s of the Hit and Run
Hit and Run Do No.1: Slow Batter, Average Speed at First
You want to stay out of the double play for two reasons. First, a double play means two outs. Second a double play means momentum.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen an inning-ending double play and the team goes into the dugout and suddenly score five or six runs.
Hit and Run Do No.2: Hitter Who Can Go to the Opposite Field
Be careful here. In my twelve years as a coach, I’ve had only one kid who I knew was going to be able to get inside the ball and go the other way. Man on first and second-Sort of a personal preference for me. But, it does keep you out of the double play. It also makes it tough on the defense. When there’s two guys running, and a ball to be caught, things can get interesting.
Hit and Run Do No.3: Runners on First and Third
Even better! How many times do you see the catcher come out and put the first and third play on?
So, the defense is ready for that fake throw to second, or whatever play they have on, then you hit and run. Oftentimes it never occurred to the defense that this could happen.
Well, the runner on third goes on anything hit down, the runner on first was already going, and the batter, if he hit the ball on the ground more than likely is the only one who might make an out.
Worst case scenario is you have a run score, a man in scoring position, and an out. Not to bad considering you could have hit into a double play.