It’s always embarrassing to be fooled by the hidden-ball trick. The pitcher usually engages in some mild deception, and then hopes the baserunner bites.
This particular instance, however, is a little different. An American Legion pitcher pulled out all the stops just to catch a baserunner with a hidden-ball trick. In the process, he may have earned himself the sports equivalent of an Oscar.
Take a look for yourself:
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 22, 2018
How did the American Legion pitcher pull off the hidden ball trick?
You probably weren’t fooled since you knew what was coming, but the baserunner bit on the fake hook, line and sinker.
The pitcher turns to pick off the lead runner on second. He mimics the throw and then immediately hops off the mound frustrated. It was really a tremendous acting job.
The baserunner, who was too busy trying to get back to the base, assumed the ball was thrown and the pitcher’s reaction led him to believe it went straight into centerfield. That’s when he took off for third.
The pitcher then casually tossed the ball to second base where they tagged out the runner out as he ran to third.
Players on the baserunners team knew it was a hidden-ball trick
Watch the video again and take a close look at everyone involved. Was the shortstop in on it? He dives to the ground to sell the fake. Then look closer. You’ll notice the centerfielder does the exact same thing. This was definitely planned! Three players on Nevada sold the trick.
Finally, watch the baserunner’s teammate at the plate. He realizes the ball was never thrown and is desperately trying to warn the runner. He fails.
And then there’s a glorious shot of other members of the Delaware team looking on in disgust from the dugout. There’s a lot to appreciate here.
The hidden-ball trick came during a big moment in a big game
The play wound up being pretty crucial. It came during the American Legion World Series. Not only that, but the game was tied 0-0 in the sixth. Delaware had already put runners and first and second and there was only one out. The team was in a good position to take the lead. The hidden-ball trick helped Nevada get out of the jam.
In the end, Delaware got the last laugh. The team managed to scratch across a run in the eighth inning, winning the American Legion World Series 1-0.
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