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We are having coaches on 12 yr. old teams telling players to merely square around to bunt but just stand there and make no motion or attempt to bunt the pitch. Their reasoning is that the "squaring around to bunt will cause the pitcher to throw 4 balls and and the batter will soon be on 1st. Some coaches are saying that the mere bunt stance is a strike, particularly if the bat is held over the front of the plate. Other coaches are saying that the player has to "make an offer" to bunt/hit the pitch before it can be called a strike. Any feedback will be appreciated.
Hmmm... well if a player squares as if to bunt and he puts his bat out over the plate and it's still there when the ball crosses the plate then, to me, I think I'd be ringing up a strike.
This is what I am thinking--by putting the bat out there and not pulling it back on the pitch, then the batter has "offered to hit the ball" and therefore it is a strike just by leaving it there. But so far, I am in the minority and am looking for some feedback. Others are saying the batter actually has to "move the bat forward" in an attempt to hit the ball.
Beleive it or not this is called in different ways by different umps. Some umps consider just placing the bat out and across the plate enough of an "offering" that if the bat is not pulled back they have a strike. Out in our area (Chicago - West Suburbs) most umps tend to call it like this (which I beleive is the correct way):
Batter squares to Bunt, does not move the bat, and the ball is in the strike zone - Strike
Batter squares to Bunt, does not move the bat at all, and the ball is outside the strike zone - ball
Batter squares to Bunt, moves the bat any way but pulling it back, and the ball is outside the strike zone - strike
Not sure if your playing LL or another league but accroding to LL guidelines on this it is not a strike if the bat is not moved and the ball is outside the strike zone.
One of the guys who hangs around this board put this up sometime ago. It explains the rule pretty well...
From the definition of bunt in the LL baseball rule book:
Of course, if the ball passes through the strike zone, it's still a strike.
And the rule for LL softball is different:
BUNT is a batted ball not swung at but intentionally met with the bat and tapped slowly. Holding the bat in the strike zone is considered an attempted bunt. In order to take a pitch, the batter must withdraw the bat backwards away from the ball.
BTW, I have always taught my kids to pull the bat back if they are not going to make an attempt/offering at the ball. That leaves less room for interpretationon the umps part.
Here is what my Little League 2008 Rules Instruction Manual (RIM) states:
So the bunting stance, like the batting stance, is not an automatic strike. That said, the slightest quiver of the bat towards the ball is enough to make it a strike...so I'd coach my kids to pull the bat back. I'd also coach my pitcher to throw strikes.
"Their reasoning is that the "squaring around to bunt will cause the pitcher to throw 4 balls and and the batter will soon be on 1st."
BTW, bad advice. In the next couple of years the kids will take it upon themselves to start throwing the ball high and in if they do this. I wish coaches would think of what they are teaching kids and ramifications it has for the long term. Once the kids hit 13-14u or so the pitching catches up to the hitting. Batting averages will drop and a kid that was taught just to hold the bat there will either receive 3 quick strikes on the outside low corner of the plate or will be subject to having to duck quickly out of the batters box.
LL and Dixie are both OBR based.
The LL ruling is the OBR ruling so it should be the Dixie ruling.
The key is that there must be an attempt to deliberately meet the ball. To do that one must try to put the bat into the path of the ball. Just standing there in a bunt stance is no diofferent than just standing there in a "normal" stance. No attempt, it's not a swinging strike.
Their reasoning is that the "squaring around to bunt will cause the pitcher to throw 4 balls and and the batter will soon be on 1st.
Now, there is some quality Coaching on display right there....
As far as the game goes, that sounds like it would make for a rather boring game (save for the part when these "kids" make it up to the next level and these learned tactics result in an up-and-in heater to the ribs.......). But I digress.
I was going to point you to the relevant parts of the Rulebook (Chapter 2) dealing with the definitions that would settle this, but a later post had a link to an older reply by Rich that covers it very nicely.
Just holding the bat out there does not automatically result in a strike. If the ball comes in within the strike-zone, ring it up whether an attempt was made or not. If the ball comes in outside the strike-zone, rule on the actions of the batter ; an attempt = strike, no attempt = no strike.
But Rich--in the bunt stance one is "putting the bat in the path of the ball"-I think that is the major point we are looking at in this situation.
I agree, that as a coach, I have always instructed the players to pull the bat back if the pitch is not in the strike zone. However now I am umpire in these games and it caused me concern over the "correct call" when the bat is not pulled back, but ratther just left out there. Thanks to all for the responses. Any other responses will be appreciated.
I agree STL--thats how I have been calling it. I have told those who asked--its a judgement call.
BTW-I dont particularly agree with the coaching instructions, but then they dont always agree with my calls. LOL.