In this last of our two part series on the approach to hitting a baseball, we’ll go over what is probably the most important part of a player’s approach and that is how he handles the various situations that will come up during the course of a baseball game. The really good hitters will us the same approach for each situation and will not deviate from it. This is what makes them consistent and the top players in the game. Since there are countless situations in the game, we’re not going to try to cover them all but just try to give you an idea of what is involved with adjusting to each one.
The most common situation for a batter leading off the inning is that he is batting with nobody on base. In this situation he will use his normal approach. If he is a contact hitter then he will simply try to get on base. If he is a power hitter then he will try to hit for a home run as he usually does. This is assuming the score is tied or there is no score.
But what if a team is down by two runs going into the bottom of the ninth inning and the first person up is your clean up hitter? His hitting of a home run is not going to get the game tied up. In this case it is more important that he get on base. In this situation your power hitter will probably choke up on the bat more, cut down on his swing and just try to get on base. This is good situational hitting.
Another common situation is when a batter comes up with a runner on first. If he is not a strong hitter, in this situation what he will try to do is hit the ball to the right side of the infield. Even if he doesn’t get a hit, if he manages to hit the ball between first and second base, he has a good chance of advancing the runner over to second base so that he can score. To do this, the batter will probably look for an outside pitch and try to slap the ball to the right side. He may even open up his stance a little if he normally uses a closed stance.
Another common situation is when a batter comes up with a runner on third base and less than two outs. In this situation, the run can be driven in without the need for a hit. All the batter has to do is get the ball out of the infield on a fly. In this situation he will probably look for a high pitch that he can lift into the outfield deep enough to score the run. To do this he will hold the bat as far down the handle as he can to get as much power as possible. He will also close up his stance a little if he uses an open one.
These are just a few of the most common situations that will come up during a game. Being able to adapt to these situations is what separates the good hitters from the not so good.
Your Independent guide to Baseball