The following is designed very competitive clubs - varsity at a minimum, and those highly structured talent organizations.
The Squeeze Play and the Suicide Squeeze Play
These two plays are similar in name but very unique in their own right. As a pitcher, you should be aware of the tendencies that promote such plays, why and what you can do to minimize their effectiveness against you.
The first thing you must realize is that you can not, and should not, attempt to take on the defensive efforts with respect to these to plays all by yourself. It takes a competent infield in harmony with your pitching. In other words, a game plan – practiced and practiced, so as to move in one solid direction when either the squeeze or suicide squeeze is on.
There are levels of competition and talent initiatives that can endorse these two plays, and only those levels and talent initiatives. Also, in the amateur game there are specific batting order players that can pull off their part in the squeeze and suicide squeeze. Certain game scenarios can lessen this kind of play(s), like the bunt with 2 strikes on the batter.
Championship varsity clubs and similar talent are usually well suited to compliment these plays. Lesser clubs are usually not equipped, talent wise, to pull off the squeeze and suicide squeeze.
With respect to the batting order, don’t anticipate either play with the bottom of the batting order, starting with the 6th batter in the order and lower. The only exception is with using a designated hitter or a pinch hitter/sub.
So, one of the most overlooked “it’s on”, is to take note of the runner on third and his body language and that of his third base coach. If the runner on third is studying your body language with a tense upright body, and his third base coach is discreetly talking to him at the same time, give a quick glance to the batter and take note of his feet in the box. If the batter has a slightly open stance, both elbows down to the belt line, shoulders slightly rounded in, then these are good signs that a squeeze or suicide squeeze may be “on”.
In any event, your third baseman and your shortstop should be in concert to “form-up” in anticipation – which by the way, can sometimes call off these two plays from the opposing bench.
One of the hardest pitches for a batter to handle, when the squeeze is on, is the high inside fastball.
Because the key to the entire squeeze working is for the runner on third taking off, getting at least, just about half way down the third baseline while your just about on your stride, and the batter giving an honest effort to make contact. Just remember not to take too long with your set position to deliver. A relaxed set stride will bury you and any chance to defend against these two plays.
Top clubs practice these two plays – both offensively and defensively all the time. It’s part of their game plan(s) and they can be very surgical about using both or either play.
A warning here - once you commit to your set delivery motion, never interrupt your motion by getting caught off-guard when that runner on third takes off and the batter changes his body posture in the box. Continue with your deliver without even a hint of hesitation. Why? Because hesitating during your delivery will be a balk.
There are, of course, other details and considerations here, but the groundwork for going into the defensive action(s) on your part is to understand the basics and then work with your infield coach or other staff to perfect your game plan(s).