Suicide Squeeze

It Ignites a Game … But It’s Suicide!

It’s a tied game, the 4th inning. Bases loaded. No outs. What does the coach call from third base? A suicide squeeze—one of the most exciting and momentum-changing plays in baseball. As a coach, to me, it’s a gut feeling when to call this bunting play, versus calling it in certain situations. Several intangibles need to be at hand to give me confidence to put on this play. You need good speed at the plate and at third base. The third-base runner needs to time his break perfectly so he doesn’t tip off the defense. You want to put the play on early in the count, when the batter is most likely to see a fastball. Most importantly, you have to trust the guy at the plate to put down the bunt no matter where the pitch comes in. When all these intangibles align, and you execute perfectly, this play can change the outlook of a game.

During a 14u Dig In Baseball tournament in Lancaster, Pa., the team was in an elimination game. The game was close, right until the middle innings. Dig In Baseball came up to bat. We managed a hit and some walks to load the bases, with our leadoff batter coming to the plate. For some reason, I had the feeling it was time to call a play to change the game’s momentum. I motioned to the umpire and called time. I called the batter over, and told him what we were going to do—he needed to make contact with the ball, no matter where it came over the plate. He was surprised but knew what I was asking. The first pitch was a fastball down the middle, a perfect pitch. He laid down a perfect bunt. The runner at third made his break just in time and slid in safe at home. Because of our leadoff’s speed, he was safe at first. A successful suicide! After that play, we scored about five more runs. We never looked back. The suicide lit a fire under the team; they turned up the adrenalin. What would you have done? What do you think—what situations call for a suicide? ~ By Coach Ray Hart. Coach Hart, former team captain on his college and high school squads, is junior varsity assistant coach at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, MD. In the fall, he coaches at Dig In Baseball. Contact him at