Posts Tagged ‘Sean Gildea’

Yawkey League pitcher Sean Gildea writes about holding runners on first base.


Sean pitching at Colby Sawyer College, where he holds the school's career strikeout record.

Blogger Bio

Sean Gildea has played in the Yawkey League for the Medford Maddogs since the team’s inception in 2004.  He has compiled a 40-12 record over his five-year Yawkey League career.  Sean played college baseball at Colby-Sawyer College and holds the school’s career strikeout, single-season strikeout, and single-game strikeout records.  In his life away from baseball, he recently placed 32nd in a World Series of Poker bracelet event.

Holding Runners on First

Holding runners and making strong pick-off moves are necessary tools in your pitching development. Controlling the running game prevents walks and singles from turning into doubles as a result of stolen bases. Here are some tips to ensure you can hold runners more effectively.

Vary Your Timing & Motion

Good baserunners will time a pitcher. This is usually the case when a runner gets a good jump. Teach yourself to throw from the stretch using one-second, three-second, and five-second holds. Also, many pitchers, left-handed or right-handed, can effectively use a mixture of timing with the two stretch motions to throw runners off. Mix in your slide step, a full leg-kick, and the different timings and runners will rarely get a good jump.

Mix Your Moves

Right-handers can step off and throw to first, spin and throw, or simply hold on to the ball. Remember that you control the game! If you want to hold the ball to throw a runner off, the batter will be forced to call time. When you use the “step-off” move, it does not mean you have to throw over but it is an effective way to remind the runner that you know he’s there. Finally,  mix in a slower spin move with a faster one and you’ll catch a runner sleeping.

Left-handers can utilize the step-off, 45-degree move, or holding the ball. Many runners typically fear left-handers just because you can use your 45-degree move. Show a poor 25-30 degree move the first time you try to pick off a quick runner, then mix in your “best move” by throwing over at 45-degrees.

Know Your Runner, Know Your Counts

Typically, 1, 2, 8, and 9 hitters are most likely to be your fast runners. When they reach base, realize that these are the guys most likely to steal and mix in your moves. 3-5 hitters are most typical to be your power hitters, and also your slowest runners.

Runners look to run on “running counts.” These are normally 3-1 or 3-2 counts because you are focused on throwing a strike and the runner knows you are less worried about him. Don’t forget your 0-2, 1-2 counts as well because these are the counts you are most likely to throw an off-speed pitch, leaving your catcher at a disadvantage.


For a baserunner’s perspective, take a look at BaseballThink’s post on stealing against a lefty.


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