10U Tournament Batting Order Strategy
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The winning 10U Tournament batting order strategy is very different from the 10U League strategy. In 10U Tournaments the pitching generally over-powers the hitters. Generally, 10U tournament games are very low scoring with the winner scoring just 2 or 3 runs. So it is vital that you implement a winning 10U Tournament batting order strategy that gives you the best chance at scoring some, ANY!, runs.
In the League batting order strategy we sprinkled in a few weak hitters to extend our batting line up. There is NO ROOM for that in the 10U Tournament batting order strategy. You MUST cluster your hitters together in hopes of getting 1 or 2 runs across the plate.
A good offensive 10U tournament team will have taught ALL of their players to bunt. At some point in time, you will face that over-powering pitcher and you MUST be able to put the ball in play. It is always much better to force the defense to make a play than to take a strike out. The more sucessful your weaker hitters can bunt, the more successful your 10U tournament batting order will be, an the more successful your TEAM will be.
One of the most disappointing losses we ever had as a 10U team we lost 2-1. We had led the entire game 1-0. Our pitcher had dominated their hitters and they had been forced to start bunting with every single batter. Routine play after routine play we gunned down their runner going to 1st base. In the last inning with two outs our pitcher gave up a walk. The next hitter laid down a bunt to our 3rd baseman. Game over, right...NOPE, she threw a bullet to the right field fence. A homerun on a bunt! Ouch, it still hurts to think about it.
So, with that in mind, let's get on with your winning 10U Tournament batting order strategy.
1) This has to be a good hitter and a good bunter with great speed and a determination to score.
2) Just like your lead off hitter but maybe slightly slower.
3) There are two choices for this position, so I will give you option A and option B. Only choose option B if you are very confident in your 1 and 2 hitters.
3A) The BEST power hitter on your team. Speed is inconsequential. Her sole purpose is to drive in one of the first two hitters. There is also a good chance she will have had to "take" a pitch or two to allow the runners to steal a base. So she could be down in the count before you let her swing the bat. The success or failure of your 10U Tournament batting order line up may very well rest on the decision you make for this position in the line up.
3B) If you have GREAT confidence in BOTH of your first two hitters, you can put a relatively weak hitter in this position to bunt. If you have two runners on base, this is a great spot to really put pressure on a defense and give one of your weaker hitters (but an excellent bunter) a better opportunity to get on base. The defense has to decide if they are going to take the out at 1st or hold the ball and keep the run from scoring. If they hold the ball, which they will do most of the time, you have just loaded the bases with 4, 5 and 6 coming to bat.
If you have any doubts about 1 and 2 getting on base do NOT choose option B. You do not want a runner on base, one out, and the second out coming to bat. That would result in one runner on, two outs, 4, 5 and 6 coming to the plate. The odds are starting to look like you will not score this inning and will start the next inning with just one or two good hitters left in your line up, which will probably not be enough hitting to score in the second inning either.
4) Next best hitter just in case #3 doesn't get it done.
5) Next best hitter
6) If you chose 3A above, you are out of strong hitters. You should continue the line up going from best on-base percentage to lowest on-base percentage. Could be a hitter or could be a bunter. If you are unsure, choose the fastest runner to bat in this spot (You do KNOW, not think you know, but KNOW the exact speed of all of your players, right? If not you need to read about the
greatness of the stopwatch
.). All else being equal, speed has a better chance of getting on base and ultimately a better chance of scoring.
7) Next best on-base percentage hitter/bunter.
8) Next best on-base percentage hitter/bunter.
9) Next best on-base percentage hitter/bunter.
10) Next best on-base percentage hitter/bunter.
When devising your 10U tournament batting order strategy, keep in mind that runs are hard to come by. You must maximize your scoring opportunities. Do not try to mastermind how you will score in every inning or it's likely you won't score in any innings. Get speed on the bases and follow up with power hitting.
Now that you have read this, you are probably wondering why you should buy in to this strategy. What are this guys credentials for coaching 10U Tournament Fastpitch Softball? So here you go:
1) In our first year of coaching a 10U tournament team we finished 3rd in State,
2) In our second year we were not able to attend the State tournament due to scheduling conflicts, but we did finish #6 in the USSSA power rankings,
3) Well over 200 games coached in 10U Tournament play and hundreds more watched or scouted.
Feel free to devise your own 10U tournament batting order strategy. Hey, you are allowed to make mistakes. I certainly made my share of mistakes. But once you begin to question if your team is going to finish 3rd in State or better, you might want to review this WINNING 10U batting order strategy.
Now, Go Get 'Em Coach!
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