In pro ball and college, you really need to ALWAYS pitch from the stretch with runners on any base – even bases loaded. But not necessarily in high school. What do you should pitchers do, as a general rule, at the lower levels of the game with runners on third, or second and third, or bases loaded?
When I played, if I had a bases-loaded situation—regardless of how many outs—I always went to the full windup and came in there with that crossfire slider. I went for the strikeout, and the runners had to hold! No way was I going to let the guy on third have a chance to score; one out, and then a double play (like 1-2-3), and that was the end of that threat. This was in relief—as a starter I never let a runner get past second. I was a real fuzzbudget in that respect.
If runners can take leads, pitchers should throw from the stretch. Runners at third are less likely to score if a ball gets slightly away from the catcher. From the windup, that runner scores every time. A LH pitcher should never go windup with a runner at 3rd unless his team is up huge on the board.
When a pitcher resorts to the wind-up with runners stacked up against 3B, that tells me the pitcher needs more practice pitching from the stretch. Since my job as a youth coach has always been to develop players, I never let my pitcher go from the wind-up with runners on any base.
Additional comment: When I pitched, back in the day, a pitcher could go to the full windup with the bases loaded. But nowadays, with any runners on base one must go to the stretch. I wonder when that rule was changed?
There’s no rule that prohibits the pitcher from using the wind-up. Just a ball that gets away slightly will result in a run if the catcher doesn’t block it and keep it close by.
We just had a kid steal home on a pitcher that went to the windup a couple weekends ago in a freshman game. In my mind, the benefits of going to the windup are very much outweighed by the cons.