The Sacrifice Bunt

In baseball, a sacrifice bunt is an offensive strategy designed to advance a runner into a scoring position, thus allowing the next batter to drive in the run with even a base hit. In this maneuver, the batter is almost always sacrificed. In rare instances, a fielding error results in the batter reaching first base. In that case, the bunt goes in the books as a single rather than a sacrifice bunt.

To execute the bunt, the batter starts in a regular batting stance, then rotates his upper body towards the pitcher, keeping the bottom hand in place but sliding the top hand up toward the middle of the bat. The top hand will control the bat head when contact is made with the ball. Keep your feet spread about shoulder width, keeping your body and knees bent slightly with your heels off the ground.

The sacrifice bunt is most commonly used when there are fewer than two outs AND with a sole runner on first base or with a runner on both first and second base (a sacrifice bunt attempted while a runner is on third is called a squeeze play). Sacrifice bunts are also commonly attempted by pitchers since they are not typically the most productive hitters and are often forced out at first anyway.

Aiming for the first base line, the bunter ensures that the attempted out will be to first base. Since the operative word in this technique is "sacrifice", the batter is doing his/her job by keeping the ball close to first and instead advancing the other runners. Few teams are willing to attempt the farther out at second or third when an almost guaranteed out presents itself at first.

While no player necessarily want to be the sacrifice bunter, this particular baseball strategy is quite effective when properly executed. Teams should practice this maneuver before trying it in a real game situation. The sacrifice bunt is both an art and a science... but it's one in which complete cohesion is required.