PRICE OF BEING GREAT
Batters sometimes have to take one for the team
Sunday, April 06, 2014 12:16 AM
During his second at-bat against Winston-Salem State on Wednesday, Lander University second baseman Erik Lunde saw an Aaron Hatch fastball speeding right at him. Lunde did not move, though. Nor did he flinch. Lunde simply turned his back slightly and the ball crashed squarely into his back near his hip.
Lander's Tyler Wilson is one of the Bearcats batters who was hit by a pitch this season. As of Friday, he had been beaned once. As a team as of Saturday, the Bearcats had been hit by pitches a total of 79 times. (ANDREW MACKE | INDEX-JOURNAL)
Lunde followed the baseball mantra of never rubbing the spot where you get hit by a pitch and trotted to first base. He scored later in the inning, one of five runs he scored that day.
Two innings later, Lander's speedy centerfielder Thomas Bess found himself staring down a fastball bearing down on his body. Like Lunde, Bess stood his ground, and the ball grazed off his arm. He did not move, nor did he rub his arm. He trotted down to first for his free base and scored later in the inning.
A typical human reaction when an object is flying through the air at them is to get out of the way by any means necessary.
In baseball, pitchers have long taken advantage of that human reaction. It is crucial for a pitcher to take control of the plate, and one way to do so is to throw a ball right off the inside corner of the plate, in on the batter's hands. Pitchers are not trying to hit a batter, but pitching is not easy, and the ball can sometimes carry too far inside. Most of the time, batters will back off or get out of the way, because it is a normal reaction to not want to get struck by a baseball cutting through the air upwards of 90 miles per hour.
When a batter dodges a ball, though, the pitcher is winning. That batter will now be wary of another ball buzzing in near him and will not be as keen to reach out over the plate to reach the outside corner. The pitcher is now in control.
MORE IN TODAY'S INDEX-JOURNAL