Diamond Drills: Serra Catholic’s Brian Dzurenda on the lost art of bunting

Sunday, April 15, 2018 | 9:51 PM

Baseball and softball find their charm in that both can be very simple in nature — pitch the ball, hit the ball, catch the ball.

But for those who played the game, it's never that easy.

So, while the TribLive High School Sports Network is proud to showcase these baseball and softball players each week with broadcasts and feature articles, there's more that can be done.

We have turned to some of the top district coaches to shed light on ways high school athletes and younger players can work on their craft to better improve their overall game and abilities.

Whether the sport is baseball or softball, bunting is a big part of the high school game. On this edition of the Diamond Drill, we square around and work on ‘the lost art' courtesy of Serra Catholic baseball coach Brian Dzurenda.

Earlier this season, Dzurenda celebrated victory No. 300 in his 19th season. The Eagles are 9-0 heading into the week. He has guided the Eagles to three WPIAL titles and a state championship.

With the success of Serra Catholic, the Eagles obviously have mastered more than bunting. But Coach Dzurenda takes us through the stuff of great sacrifice.

Bunting team drills

Purpose: This drill helps players work on the mechanics and timing of a sacrifice bunt versus a base-hit bunt. It also allows a coach to evaluate the bunting mechanics of a number of players at one time.

Setup: This drill is best done as a group. Drill five to six players per group with a total of three groups. Group 1: sacrifice bunt with pivot. Group 2: sacrifice bunt with square-around stance. Group 3: pivot bunt for base hit

Execution: Have a group of five to six fan out into an arch around the pitcher, who is standing at 40 feet.

Each player will take turns bunting 15-20 balls.

Four orange cones are placed in the field of play. Two are set off the first-base line 15 feet apart, and two are set off the third-base line 15 feet apart. The idea is to bunt the ball between the cones and not back to the pitcher.

The coach will simulate a stretch and deliver a pitch.

Each player will work on the proper timing of getting in position to bunt.

Footwork is important in a pivot bunt and square-around bunt. The batter needs to be in front of batter's box as opposed to center or in the back of box to provide a proper ball angle for a bunted ball.

Things to look for: Does the player look balanced? Is there a chance the player is stepping close to where the plate would be? Is the bat at the proper angle (45 degrees) and at the top of the strike zone?

Are the players feet firmly planted for a sacrifice bunt? Many players want to exit the box too quick and lose the proper form.

Ask the player what are we trying to accomplish? With a runner on second base, the ball ideally should be bunted to the third baseman to draw him off the bag.

Don Rebel is a TribLive High School Sports Network broadcaster and staff writer. Reach him at drebel@tribweb.com.

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