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Batting Routines: the Sequel
Prepare for Competition
By Larry Lee
Head Coach, Cuesta (Calif.) College

Editor's Note: This is part two of a two-part series on the topic.

Field Set up:
Portable batting cage
L-screen for pitcher (40-50 feet from home plate)
Protective screen for bucket man, in center field next to infield dirt
(Optional) protective screens for first baseman, on infield grass in front of second base for middle infield double plays, 20 feet in front of third base, on the line, for baserunners to read down angle, etc.

Again, each group works best with four or five hitters. There will be two baserunners for the first two rounds.

ROUND 1 (2) Sacrifice bunts (2) Hit & run (2) Move runner over (2) Score runner third base drag bunts

Batter executes two sacrifice bunts, one down each line. Runners at first base alternate each pitch (no throw-down base). Shuffle, shuffle, read down angle, and turn the shoulders in the direction of second base. Batter swings at the next two pitches during the hit & run phase of the round, trying to hit the ball on the ground (your philosophy on where you want the ball hit on the hit & run will be taught). Baserunners at first base will carry out their end of the hit & run by getting a good jump and turning the head in just before contact.

The hitter now gets two pitches that he can hit to the right side, moving the runner at second base over to third base. A right-handed hitter sits middle-away, while a left-handed hitter sits middle-in. The ball should be hit on the ground or driven to the right side. Baserunners at second base will take their lead how you as a coach teach, and read the ball off the bat. The cardinal rule is that a ground ball must pass to your backside, unless hit extremely hard, to advance to third base. Some soft hit ground balls hit to the left side can also work for the baserunner.

The batter now has two swings to get the runner in from third base. We have our hitters look middle-away to enhance their chances of hitting a fly ball. A lot of hitters have a tendency to roll over the inside pitch and hit ground balls to the pull side. During a game situation, the infielders will sometimes dictate where you want to hit the ball. Baserunners at third base read the ball off the bat. They are going on any ground ball except to the pitcher and the third baseman, going back to the base on a line drive, and tagging on a fly ball that is deep enough.

The batter yells, "coming out", the trail baserunner at third base cuts across the infield to become the lead baserunner, while the batter lays down a drag bunt and runs through first base.

ROUND 2 (4) L-screen Push Bunt

The batter takes four swings and tries to take the ball up the middle, or at the L-screen. The baserunners start at second base and read one batted ball each from second base, and one each from third base. Batter yells "coming out", trail baserunner cuts across the field to second base, while the batter executes a push bunt and runs through first base and hustles on over to second base to become the trail runner.

ROUNDS 3 & 4 (4) Swings (sprint through first base)

The last two rounds are identical. No baserunners are needed. The hitter gets four swings, hitting the ball where it is pitched. Before the fourth swing the batter yells, "coming out", hits the ball and runs through first base.

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