The other night I was talking with another guy who has coached baseball for years, and the subject of the hit and run came up. We recalled times when it had worked to perfection and others when it failed, usually because the batter didn’t swing, leaving the runner from first to get thrown out at second.
The hit and run can keep a rally alive and avoid a double play like few other strategies. If well executed it even can put the batter on base while moving the runner past second and onto third.
It’s not a play you want to try at the younger levels. Hitters at that age lack the bat control to even attempt to put the ball where it needs to be. Also, catchers at that age usually can’t throw out a runner trying to steal second anyway so there’s no reason to possibly give up your hitter to advance the runner.
But at the upper levels of youth baseball, the hit and run can be an effective weapon. At worst, the runner advances to second and the hitter is out. But done well, the runner on third makes it all the way to third and the hitter is safe at first.
Here is a good article from eteamz.com that covers when and why to attempt the hit and run. As for how to do it, here’s a short video that demonstrates the process from start to finish. I wish they’d filmed on a sunnier day (the video is a little bit dark), but you can see exactly how the hit and run is supposed to work.
You’ll need to practice the strategy with your team a number of times before trying it in a game, and you’ll need a hitter with good bat control. But the kids love the opportunity to swing away at pretty much any pitch the catcher could catch, and they love the sort of clever strategy of the play itself. And when a rally continues and runs score, everyone likes the result.