Setup for German Baseball
Setup for German Baseball

Baseball/Softball: German Baseball

Dick Moss, Editor, PE

German Baseball is a fun game you can play in the gym or out on the baseball field. Use it in class or as a fun change of pace for varsity baseball practices.

Place a base under the basketball net on both ends of the gym. One base is home plate and the other is second base. Place 6-8 cones 10 feet apart on either side of the line running between the two bases, forming a “gauntlet.”

The players from one team stand at the cones, with one player assuming the pitcher's duties and standing in the center of the gauntlet at approximately a pitcher's distance from home base.

The batting team lines up behind home plate, with one player at bat, holding a stickball stick or broomstick. The pitcher holds a soft, Nerf-type ball.

How to Play
The goal of the batting team is to score points by hitting the ball then running to second base and back to home plate.

The defensive team's job is to retrieve any hits and get the baserunner out by hitting him with the ball before he reaches home plate. Defensive players can only throw from the cone at which they were stationed. However they can pass the ball to a teammate who is already stationed at their cone.

This is where the fun comes in. Baserunners will duck, jump, slide on the floor and take all sorts of evasive manoeuvres in order to avoid being hit. A moving target isn't easy to hit, so the onus on the defensive players is to make accurate passes and throws in order to hit the baserunner.

The other unique aspect of the game is that baserunners, if not hit before returning to home base, can slap hands with the next teammate in line, and that teammate can then run to second base and back. This ?“relay” of baserunners and ?additional scored points continues until one of them is hit by a ball.

Batter Running the Gauntlet in German Baseball
Batter Running the Gauntlet in German Baseball
Other Rules
Only soft, Nerf-type balls can be used, to remove the risk of injury and fear of being hit by the ball.
Baserunners can only be hit below the shoulders. Any contact with the head results in a point for the baserunner's team.
There are no out-of-bounds lines, so any batter's hits, regardless of where they travel, will allow the batter to run.
Teams change roles after three outs.

To make the game more appropriate for younger students in a physical education setting, you could require underhand throws and contact with the baserunners beneath the waist.  You could also use a batting tee instead of a pitcher.

Reference: Dr. Dirk Baker, “150 Baseball Drills, Games and Activities.” Championship Productions, 2008. www.Championship

Screenshot photo courtesy of Championship

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