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Inside the Game

Difference Between a Run & Hit and Hit & Run

Who do you as a coach give a steal sign to? OR when do you as a player know if you will usually get a steal sign or a Hit & Run?

Run & Hit (similar to a straight steal)…is most times given to a baserunner that possess above average speed and can run in any count, any pitch, and any inning. Players who get the Run & Hit sign usually swipe bags 80-85% of the time. To give these baserunners an extra split second the 3rd base coach can choose what count or pitch to run on.

What is the responsibility of the hitter on a Run & Hit?

Since the batter should be aware that the Run & Hit is on meaning the runner is more than likely able to steal the base the hitter should only be looking for one pitch to hit, that pitch being one that will result in a hard line drive or a hard line drive to the gap. Any other pitches outside of this zone should be taken which will let the runner take the bag. The worst that can happen here is that the batter swings at a pitch outside his "wheelhouse" and gets himself out before giving himself a chance to drive in the runner from second base (after he has stolen the bag obviously).

Hit & Run…is most times given to a slower baserunner who would not be able to swipe a bag like a baserunner would in a Run & Hit. Generally you would not see a Hit & Run executed with a fast runner on base because you technically taking the bat out of the hitters hands.

The Hit & Run has a very low success rate because of how hard difficult it can be to execute. You need the right mix of players, the right count and number of outs (which is usually one). Its low success rate stems from the amount of players that can step up to the plate and hit a ball on the ground to the opposite field, which is where you would find your hole in the infield since that fielder would typically being taking the bag on a runner attempting a stolen base. If executed properly the baserunner should get two bases and the hitter should get a base hit for himself.

What is the responsibility of the hitter on a Hit & Run?

Since the Hit & Run involves a slower baserunner it is the ultimate responsibility of hitter to ensure he swings at the pitch and hopefully puts it in play to the opposite field or away from the middle infield. The hitter in this case must swing at ANY pitch that crosses that leaves the pitchers hand UNLESS it is in the dirt. So any pitch that can be received by the catcher it must be swung at by the hitter.

The placement of this hit is something that can be practiced during BP at practice but is a very hard skill to master and takes much practice and patience.

Who is the right hitter for a Hit & Run?

A good hitter to receive a Hit & Run would be a solid contact hitter and consistently puts the ball in play and would preferably hit from the right side. If you have a consistent hitter from the right side then if he is able to hit behind the runner most times that runner would get two bases out of a Hit & Run.

If the hitter is a high swing and miss guy then the chances of this hitter moving the runner are slim to none and the result with this type of hitter is usually the baserunner is a dead duck at second base even with an average catcher.