First and goal: Bunt etiquette

By From page A11 | April 18, 2014

Bush Mike

In baseball and softball, there are multiple situations to bunt.

The main reason is for the batter to sacrifice himself/herself to move runners into scoring position, setting up a better opportunity to score.

Another is to get something going as it puts pressure on the defense to make the play.

When used appropriately, bunting is an effective offensive weapon that’s engulfed in various strategic possibilities for both dugouts.

But why use it when your team is ahead by 15 or more runs?

That’s what Cosumnes Oaks did to El Dorado in a recent Sierra Valley Conference softball game at the Cougars’ field April 10. In the top of the fifth inning, the visiting Wolf Pack led by the final score, 19-1, when a Cosumnes Oaks player put down a successful bunt single to advance the runner from first to second.

Prior to bunt, the Wolf Pack player was 3-for-3 that included a grand slam, double and single, plus scored four times.

Because of her obvious prowess, was Cosumnes Oaks bunting out of mercy?

The only time a bunt should be executed in a game that is being decided by 10 or more runs is if it’s by a player coming in off the bench.

Even then it’s iffy.

The substitute whose team holds a big lead should swing away. El Dorado had nine players in position to defend.

The Wolf Pack player who bunted started and played the entire game.

With an 18-run lead, time to play the bench.

One could say Consumes Oaks, one game ahead of Union Mine in the race for the  conference title, opted for the bunt for practice in situations when the Wolf Pack reaches the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

But isn’t that what practices are for?

Cosumnes Oaks should know better for bunting in a game that was already out of reach.

Baseball and softball have unwritten rules with respect to sportsmanship. Pretty sure bunting with an enormous lead violates it.

Next school year, Cosumnes Oaks moves into the Capital Valley Conference with Ponderosa. The question is should the Wolf Pack run up big leads again will they disregard all bunting etiquette?

Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.

Mike Bush

Mike Bush has been a Staff Writer at the Mountain Democrat since August 2011. Follow him on Twitter @MBushMtDemo
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