A long time ago, the people who were in charge of softball, especially youth softball, decided that it was important to establish a mercy rule to keep the games from becoming too lopsided. There are many versions of the rule that dictates when a lopsided game will be ended.
Over the course of my career I have been on both the winning and losing end of these kind of games. Whether we were the team getting our butts kicked or the team doing the kicking, I’ve always thought that the run rule was a good idea.
No one really enjoys the game when it turns into a rout, on either side. Will getting you butt kicked prove fatal, of course not, but there is a point of no return where neither team gains much from piling on more runs. How many runs that is will vary from day to day, but if you’ve been involved in these games, you get my point.
I think the run rule is a good thing. I also think that every team should try to win by the run rule if they possibly can, every game. I believe every coach should try to secure enough runs to get ahead by whatever the run rule is that day. The best way to be sure you are going to win is to get ahead and end the game early, if possible.
So what about the team on the losing end? That is why we have the run rule to begin with. That is a safety net to get out of the tough situation of getting your butt handed to you. It’s your job as the team that is down to either fight back to get in the game or get the outs you need to get to where the run rule takes effect.
Yes, there have been times where I wondered in my heart if we could figure out a way to get the 12 or 15 outs we needed to end a game where we were getting pounded but I never felt it was the other coaches job to try to help us out. We were down that game but we needed to fight to get the outs we needed.
Coach to get the run-rule win, coach to get the outs you need to end the game, but keep playing the game the way it is supposed to be played. DO NOT make outs on purpose by leading off early or swinging and missing. That is not your job!