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Move the runner over using the sacrifice fly

Elvis Elvis

The objective of the sacrifice fly is to move a base runner to the next base using a batted deep fly ball to the outfield with less than two outs.

Typically executed with a runner on third base, your job as the batter is to hit a long fly ball to the outfield. If caught by an outfielder for an out, the base runner is allowed to “tag up” and run toward home plate from third base.

If you’ve been successful hitting the baseball deep to the outfield, the outfielder is unlikely to throw the runner out as he attempts to advance to the next base because of the distance to home plate from the outfield position and possibly the speed of the base runner. If all aspects come together, the base runner often is given an easy chance to score.

The possibilities of the sacrifice fly.

Sacrifice flies are one of the most common situational plays. When a runner reaches second with no outs, there is a high percentage chance that the runner will score if your team is able to execute proper baseball fundamentals. This includes being able to score without the benefit of a hit.

For example, starting with no outs, you may be able to advance the base runner from second to third in thanks to a sacrifice fly to right field. Then, with one out, advance him once again utilizing the sacrifice fly to any one of the outfield positions, scoring the run.

Move the runner over using the sacrifice fly

Most often, sacrifice flies take place with a runner on third base, but as mentioned may also take place with a runner on second and a fly ball hit to center or right field. In rare cases, the sacrifice may be able to move a runner from first to second, but the outfielder needs to be very deep, the outfielder not in a great throwing position (i.e. possibly having had to make a diving catch), and the runner very quick on his feet.

Execution.

As a hitter, you may need to slightly adjust your swing for a slight uppercut in order to hit the fly ball. However, doing so makes it less likely you’ll make contact with the ball due to your bat’s angle as compared to the flight of the baseball.

With two strikes your focus should be less on the sacrifice fly and more on avoiding a strikeout. Anything can happen when the ball is put into play, but striking out is the end of the line. Therefore, with two strikes you’ll want to revert back to your natural swing, or into your typical two-strike approach.

Another factor working against you when attempting to hit a deep fly is the likelihood that the pitcher will want to keep the pitch down. A low pitch is considered to be a “pitcher’s pitch”. It is also more difficult to hit in the air to the outfield due to you having to implement a slight uppercut on a pitch near the ground. Your advantage is that you know the pitch is likely to be down low, helping to minimize your guesswork as to the pitch location.

Tagging up.

As the runner, you’ll want to “tag up” with the base prior to taking off for the next base. To tag up, as the ball is hit in the air, you must return to the base from your leading off position. Once back, place your natural push-off foot on the baseline edge of the bag, using its height to help propel yourself forward. But don’t take off just yet. You must first wait for a fielder to touch the baseball prior to you making a running dash to the next base.

If you happen to leave prior to the fielder touching the ball, the defensive team can execute what is termed an “appeal”. The appeal is when the pitcher takes the pitching rubber with the ball. He then steps off the rubber and throws the ball to the base that you left early. The fielder who receives the ball from the pitcher then tags the base that you left from. If the umpire feels that you did leave prior to the fielder catching the baseball you are then called out without being credited with the run (if tagging up from third base).

In most instances, there is little need for the base runner to leave early. So, don’t be overanxious when leaving the bag prior to the fly ball being touched by a fielder. Make sure you tag up and leave the base at the appropriate time. Otherwise, you’re giving the other team an easy out!