A baseball rundown, also known as a pickle, is when a base runner is caught between two bases. When done the right way the base runner never wins. The defense should be able to get the base runner out every time in this type of situation. Below I am going to share with you 5 tips that will ensure you are able to do just that.
Tip #1 – Communicate – In all sports communication is the most important factor. When you are doing a rundown talking to each other will prove to be your most valuable asset. Before you go onto the field you should work out commands that will be said if this type of situation should occur.
For example, when the receiving infielder is ready to receive the ball they should use a special command so the other infielder knows they are ready to receive the ball. You can say “now” or “throw it” Whatever works best for you. The idea is to get them the ball when they are ready to catch and tag.
Tip #2 – Rundown the target before you throw the ball
This is the type of play you want to get done in the fewest number of throws possible. To make this happen the person with the ball will need to rundown the target. You want to run hard towards him. The idea is to force him to turn around and run towards your teammate. If you run hard, he too will run hard. This is to your advantage as it makes it much more difficult for the runner to quickly change directions.
Make him commit. Once he commits you will either tag him or throw your teammate the ball so they can tag the runner. If you are the receiving infielder it is your job to close the gap. You don’t want to give the runner a chance to stop and start running again. Keep him in the middle of the bases so you can quickly tag him out.
Tip #3 – Follow The Throw
In some cases it may take you more than two throws to get the base runner out. That’s why it is very important you follow the throw. You want the runner to be covered from both sides at all times. This will help you get him out faster.
Tip #4 – Never Cross The Baseline
After you make a throw get out of the way. You never want to be in the way of the runner if you don’t have the ball. If the runner comes in contact with any player that doesn’t have the ball he will automatically be safe. So stay away from the baseline.
Tip #5 – Never Let The Runner Advance
If you have a runner caught between second and third base push them towards second base. You never want to give the runner a chance to advance. Even if he somehow gets out of the pickle and is safe, you want him to be safe on the lower base. So always run him in the direction of the smaller base.