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When to Use the Hit-And-Run

The hit-and-run is one tool that baseball coaches can use to help bolster an offense, particularly when it can complement an already strong running game. And that’s exactly how Flower Mound (Texas) High School Head Baseball Coach Danny Wallace uses it.

“Well, we like to run first,” Wallace said. “Part of our base offense is just running period. Yeah, I’m pretty aggressive offensively once we get people on base.” Wallace makes it a point to ensure that every hitter in his lineup can successfully execute the hit-and-run, which makes it much easier for him to call for it in any situation and with any member of his lineup at the plate.

Of course, he knows there are a few variables that have to come together to assure a hit-and-run will be successful.

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“Well, you have to have some luck somewhere along the way because you don’t really know who’s going to be covering the bag as much as you like to think you do because they can easily switch it up on you,” Wallace said.

“And we don’t necessarily try to hit the ball through the infield. As far as hitting it to second or short, we don’t coach that. We’re looking for solid contact and driving something somewhere. A lot of times, if the swing gets shorter, they’re going to hit the ball better anyway. We just try to hit the ball solid.”

If he has a choice, Wallace prefers to steal over putting a hit-and-run on. But how much he utilizes what is a valuable part of his offense all depends on the opponent and whether or not his team can run on them. But when he does opt to hit and run, one thing he doesn’t do is encourage his base runners to get much of a lead.

“The lead’s not near as important in a hit-and-run, which is why people do it. If we feel like we can get a good lead and steal a base, we won’t hit and run, we’ll just steal it,” Wallace said. “More than anything else, if we’re hitting and running, we talk to our runners about not being off too far so there’s no way they can get picked off. They should never get picked (off) in a hit-and-run situation.” 

Wallace’s aggressive style is not only fun for his players, but he admits it’s also a fun way to coach. And when it comes to stolen bases, an integral part of his offense alongside the hit-and-run, he gives his players a lot of discretion about when they can attempt to steal.

“We give our kids a lot of freedom to do what they want. I don’t call stolen bases much. Our kids have green lights. We put red lights up for them at times. We coach them on when to run and to pick their pitches. We leave it up to them quite a bit,” Wallace said.

From GameChanger and Stephen Hunt.

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