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Saturday, August 13, 2022
ArlingtonCommentary: Stolen bases often a sure thing

Commentary: Stolen bases often a sure thing

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In high-school baseball, very often the stolen base – at least when it comes to swiping second – can be a sure thing.

Take three recent games, for example. In those contests, each of the 20 steals attempted was successful. Most swipes were of second, but three were of third.

In a game between the Lake Braddock Bruins and McLean Highlanders, the teams were a perfect 10 for 10 stealing bases. McLean’s Griffin Stieg was 4 for 4. He stole second twice and third as many times, as well.

In the Yorktown Patriots’ loss to South Lakes, after reaching base safely, the first two batters stole safely.

Madison easily swiped four early bases in a 12-0 blowout victory over McLean, then stopped running.

There are two big reasons for the high-stealing success rate: Runners get very good jumps, and most catchers are mediocre as far as arm strength, quick releases and accuracy. Also, most pitchers are just average at holding runners on first or second.

Often, runners stealing second don’t even draw a throw from a catcher, because they get such big jumps. That was the case in some of those games previously mentioned. Why make an unneeded throw, that could be errant, allowing the runner to take another base or two? 

Sometimes, one team steals bases so easily against an opponent it’s almost embarrassing.

When real good catchers with those quick and accurate releases and strong arms are at work behind the plate, that’s when base stealing stalls in high-school ball. But that’s the exception rather than the rule.

So the sure thing of stolen bases in high-school baseball continues. The situation has been that way for years, and likely won’t change. 

With success rates that high, it’s a wonder more teams don’t attempt to steal even more often than they do.

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