Most of the time, these only work at the lower levels of baseball and softball. This high school softball team fooled a runner in the most deceitful way when they faked a throw down (and the shortstop dove for air). Pitchers have been known for their trickery as well, like this kid’s “invisible ball” magic pitch.
In the Sun Belt Conference Championships last week, the Georgia State Panthers used a desperation “standoff” trick play to help beat the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks.
Georgia State’s “Standoff Pickle” Trick Play
I’m calling this one the “standoff pickle” trick play.
Georgia State had runners on the corners with two outs and the batter was in an 0-2 hole. His chances of getting a hit were slim, so the Panthers ran a play that intentionally gets the runner on first in a pickle. The reason: to make something happen.
Panthers baserunner Josh Smith took off but didn’t steal second base. He patiently waited (hand on his hip, too!) and forced the ULM pitcher to throw the ball to an infielder. Smith got the pickle he wanted and the runner on third, Preston Joye, creeped far enough off the base for the infielder to throw wildly behind him.
Joye then easily raced home as Georgia State stole a run from ULM. Panthers head coach Brad Stromdahl drew it up perfectly and got the outcome he needed. GSU took a 6-5 lead and went on to win the game, 9-6.
The pitcher is probably still wishing he had just thrown a curveball in the dirty for the swinging strikeout.
This trick play is a fairly common one, though most pitchers don’t hold on to the ball for that long. Many high school teams break it out when the scenario calls for it. The hitter must be in a bad count and you need runners on first and third. Even if fielders commit to tagging the guy on first out, the runner on third can potentially score before he’s tagged.
I wouldn’t recommend running it if someone like Prince Fielder is on first base, however.
Georgia State’s trickery only got the school so far in the SBC Championships. The Panthers lost to Georgia Southern the following game. At least they pulled off a nifty trick play.