Rookie Ball Running Guidelines
As many of you are aware, the fielding ability of the children is not that great and essentially any hit can be effectively turned into a home run. However, we are here to teach the players all aspects of the game including effective base running and sportsmanship. It has come to my attention that some teams may require some assistance in this area. The requirements are as follows:
- The team batting is to have a coach or helper at 1st base and at 3rd base to assist the base runners. This is standard. Please make sure these people, who are presumably parent helpers, are aware of these requirements.
- The team fielding should have at least 2 coaches in the field to assist the players with positioning. The best spot for these coaches seems to be one in left field behind the shortstop and 1 in rightfield behind the 2nd baseman. Then you can communicate effectively with the largest number of players.
- It is difficult to describe every possible scenario however the following should be helpful:
- Any ball that is hit on the infield is a single. Runners should move up 1 base.
- Any ball hit to the outfield is also single. If the ball is hit to an area where given reasonable fielding the runner could normally get to 2nd then the batter may try for 2nd. The other runners advance accordingly. A runner at 2nd or 3rd base on a double would likely get home. A runner at 1st base would normally get to at least 3rd base and might get home if the ball is still in the outfield and no outfielder has control of the ball when they reach 3rd base.
- If the batter has reached second and the ball is still far out in the outfield then they might try for 3rd or even a home run.
- If the ball is on the infield the runners should stop at the base they are closest to or are half-way or beyond getting to regardless of whether they think they can force an erroneous throw or not.
- If the ball is thrown "Out of play" runners generally advance to the next base beyond the one they are either occupying or are about to occupy. There is an element of discretion involved on the part of the umpire technically where the ball is out of play.
- If it is the last batter, essentially the batter and runners race for home (without passing) and the best bet is for the fielding team to throw the ball to the catcher who will step on/tag home plate and stop the play.
- If the score is "lopsided", the team that is winning should consider the etiquette of baseball in determining the level of aggression to use in running. Generally a team leading by a "wide margin" would adopt a less aggressive running stance and the head coach would communicate this to the base coaches. It is also a good opportunity to turn the speed up on the pitching machine and get the players hitting a stronger pitch (i.e. closer to 40 mph rather than 35 mph).