Learn about the suicide squeeze

Like the safety squeeze, the suicide squeeze is one of the most exciting plays in baseball. This play carries a high degree of risk, particularly if the bunt is missed, but if executed properly this play is almost impossible to defend against.

Often used with the game on the line and in the late innings, the objective of the suicide bunt is to score the runner from third base. This is implemented by having the runner take off in what looks like an attempted steal of home plate, prior to the batter laying down a bunt to help the runner score.

Get the ball down at all cost.

Unlike the safety squeeze, where the runner at third waits until the bunt has been laid down before breaking for home, the suicide bunt occurs when the runner at third breaks toward home plate in an attempt to score as the pitcher commits to throwing to home plate.

As the hitter, your goal is to get the bunt down at all costs, regardless of pitch type or location. Even a poor bunt should succeed in scoring the runner because of his early start from third. So, making contact and keeping the ball fair should be your primary concern.

Utilizing the square-around bunt stance.

Rather than using the pivot stance to surprise the defense (as suggested for the safety squeeze bunt), you may wish to utilize the square-around stance for the suicide squeeze.

Learn about the suicide squeeze

Whereas the pivot stance best serves to surprise the defense, the square-around stance gives you the best chance to prepare for the pitch, see the ball, and make contact. Although helpful, surprising the defense should be a low priority when it comes to the suicide, as a successfully laid-down bunt should score the runner from third with few difficulties.

With your priority being to get that bunt down regardless of the type or location of the pitch, you can see why the square-around bunt stance may give you the best chance to do so. However, do try to hold off setting into your stance as long as possible as enabling some element of surprise is better than not surprising the defense at all.

You may want to check with your coach as to which stance he prefer you use, as he may see something in the defense to warrant one type of stance over the other.

Risk factors.

The suicide squeeze tends to work more often than the safety squeeze, although there are more risk factors that come into play. When a suicide is called for, there are typically only two results. Either the runner is going to score or he’s going to be tagged out.

Safety squeezes, on the other hand, often end up with no showdown, the runner retreating to third on either a missed or poor bunt attempt. By not being given the same option, the runner implementing a suicide squeeze has a greater chance of being thrown out.

The pitcher may also see the runner breaking during his windup and attempt a pitchout (where the pitcher throws the ball far outside the outside edge of home plate). The pitchout heavily favors the defense and makes the likelihood of you successfully laying down a bunt near impossible. When implemented by the pitcher and catcher, the runner is usually caught dead in the water for the out.

For this reason, the suicide squeeze is best executed by the offense when they have a right-handed hitter at the plate. This forces the pitcher to pitchout to the first base side of the plate, taking the catcher farther away from the play as the runner sprints down the third baseline. This is in contrast to having the catcher catching the pitch on the same side of the plate where the runner is approaching.

Bunting the baseball directly to the ground is also vital. This means that you must bunt the top of the ball down into the dirt. If you are unable to bunt the ball to the ground, and popup instead, this gives the fielders an easy chance to turn a double play if less than two outs – as the runner is likely to be far from third, unable to return to the bag as required.

Of course, the biggest risk is that you’ll miss the bunt attempt entirely, allowing the ball to nestle snugly into the catcher’s mitt. He then stands up and tags the runner out on an easy throw and catch play between the pitcher and the catcher. Not a fun place to be when you’re the one called upon to execute the bunt. So, be sure to concentrate on that pitch so that you’ll succeed in your role.