TIP of the MONTH
Coach Jerry “Kal” Kalista
FROM October 1, 2016
Whether you hit for average or are a power hitter, you can always help your team by laying down a successful bunt. You never know when you may be called on to lay down a successful bunt. You have to prepare yourself in practice like you’re going to be asked to lay down a bunt in a critical situation, whether for a base hit or to move runners to help your team. Bunts can help win baseball games, so every batter on the roster should know how to put down a successful bunt. If you want to become a complete baseball player, then you must learn to be a good bunter.
There are two basic ways to bunt. The PIVOT is the most common. The pivot is when you go from your normal batting stance, pivot your upper body towards the pitch while keeping your feet in their stance position. The pivot allows for an element of surprise, is easier when faking a bunt and makes it a little easier to avoid being hit by the pitch. The SQUARED approach is when you bring your feet parallel to homeplate and to each other, while keeping your feet shoulder width apart. The squared approach gives you better plate coverage and a little longer look at the baseball than the pivot. You become more vulnerable to being hit by the pitch in the squared approach. Also, in the squared approach, you risk the chance of stepping outside the batter’s box and being called out by the umpire. Your chance of surprising the defense is less because you need to be set in the squared stance earlier.
In both bunting stances (PIVOT & SQUARED), you want to enter the bunting stance in a slight crouch and square your shoulders towards the pitcher. You should hold the bat handle firmly with your bottom hand (this controls the bat). The top hand slides to the label. You want to pinch the bat barrel with your fingers and thumb of your top hand. The bat should be at the top of the strike zone and a little out front of homeplate, with the bat head slightly above the handle. A pitched ball above your hands is a ball and there should be no attempt to bunt. Take the pitch! Pitched baseballs below the bat, should be bunted by lowering your body with your legs (bending at your knees), not dropping your hands.
The direction of the bunt is very important. To bunt towards third base, the bat should be aligned with the first base foul line. To bunt towards first base, the bat should be aligned with the third base foul line.
There are a number of game situations that a bunt can be used. Late in the game, a sac-bunt can be used to move a base-runner from first base to second base, which puts the base-runner into scoring position. Early in the game, you can combine a sac-bunt with a steal to move a base-runner from first base to third base. A fake bunt can be an easy steal opportunity when the infield (third baseman and or first baseman) are aggressive in playing/charging the bunt. A batter can bunt for a base hit. Bunting for a base hit can be done with or without base-runners. Left handed hitters can use a drag-bunt for a base hit. The unpredicted swinging-bunt occurs when a poorly batted ball rolls into fair territory, much like a bunt. A slash-bunt can be done when the defense (third baseman) is expecting a bunt and the batter pivots or squares to bunt and actually swings away. The suicide-squeeze is with a baserunner on third base. The baserunner gets a good lead off third, takes a good secondary and steals home. In this case, the batter must bunt the ball on the ground. With the safety squeeze, the baserunner gets his lead and reads the bunt before going home or stays at third base. The batter’s job is to push the baseball away from the pitcher, towards first base or third base.
There are a couple of special rules associated with bunts. A bunt foul with two strikes is a strikeout, and the infield fly rule is not enforced on bunts that are popped up.
PROPER PREPARATION PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE!
ALWAYS BE POSITIVE! ALWAYS GIVE 100% ENERGY TAKES NO TALENT!
Coach Jerry “Kal” Kalista
NOTE: Direct any questions or comments to Coach Kalista at firstname.lastname@example.org