By Dave Reardon
It's one of the most debatable situations in baseball — whether to try to advance base runners with a sacrifice bunt or swing away and hope for a hit (or take and hope for a walk). Many factors come into play.
In the ninth inning Thursday, Hawaii trailed by one with runners on first and second and no outs. Conner George — one of the Rainbows' hottest hitters — was asked to bunt. He failed in two attempts and then popped out for the first out. Kalei Hanawahine grounded into a double play to end the game.
I would have let George swing away. He's had nine hits in his last 22 at-bats.
The arguments for bunting are pretty solid, too: sacrifice bunts succeed about 2/3 to 3/4 of the time; if the play is executed in this case, they put the tying run on third and the winning run on second, with one out.
The botched sacrifice is far from the only reason Hawaii lost. Give UC Santa Barbara credit for tenacity and coming up with big plays when needed.
As TV analyst Pal Eldredge noted, the shortstops in this series are a lot of fun to watch.