Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images
Ronald Acuña Jr. will make you pay if your take your eyes off him
As a youth baseball coach, one of the toughest lessons to teach young baseball players is that unless time has been called, the ball is always live.
Thankfully I now have something to show the team next practice to instill that lesson even more, thanks to Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr.
The Braves were trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 in the bottom of the fifth inning on Monday night, when Acuña led off the inning by drawing a four-pitch walk. The next batter, first baseman Matt Olson, walked as well, sending Acuña to second.
But the outfielder was not content stopping there.
Watch this heads-up play from Acuña as he takes the extra base, going from first-to-third on a walk:
Keep your on @RonaldAcunaJr24 at all times! pic.twitter.com/gsa2zvHLq9
— MLB (@MLB) May 23, 2023
Acuña noticed that third baseman Max Muncy had his back turned to him, and was not in a hurry to cover third base. So the outfielder rounded second and made a dead sprint to third. By the time the Dodgers, and Muncy, reacted it was too late, and the Braves had runners at the corners with nobody out.
The heady play ended up stealing the Braves a run. The next batter hit a ground ball to short, and while the Dodgers were able to force Olson out at second, Acuña, now starting the play on third instead of second, was able to score on the fielder’s choice. The next two batters lined out and grounded out, respectively, meaning the Braves might have been held scoreless in the inning, had Acuña not made this heads-up play.
Atlanta went on to lose 8-6, but if nothing else, I have a talking point for practice Wednesday night.
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