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Team USA's take on the ITB

Ken Krause

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May 7, 2008
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Mundelein, IL
Stayed up way too late last night to watch the first medal round game for Team USA versus Japan. I didn't get to bed until 2:00 AM, which was worth it then but a little rough this morning.

One thing I found interesting was the approach to the ITB that Coach Candrea took -- mostly because it was similar in philosophy to what I've done in them (although not always with that level of success).

Of course, the conventional wisdom says the team on offense should bunt the runner on second to third, then take two shots at bringing her home. The Japanese team certainly followed it, at least in the bottom of the eighth when the score was tied.

Team USA, however, had a different plan. Rather than expend the out and play for one run, Coach Candrea elected to keep the extra out and play for more than one run. He put in his most experienced player and got the go-ahead run, then let the top of his order do their jobs. He wound up with four runs instead of one, which in a game that had gone eight innings with a 0-0 score was a huge mountain to climb.

No question about it -- you have to have the bats to do it. Not to mention the nerve, especially if it doesn't work since you'll be facing a host of fans and parents who will want to know why you didn't play it safe and bunt. But if you can pull it off, it's quite a feat.

The point is don't always get yourself stuck in the rut or feel you always have to follow the "book." No guts, no glory.

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