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Stepping techniques are techniques that help the players move around the ground for more effective fielding or employed by pitchers to incorporated into their pitching to use in certain situations.

Cross-step

It's a technique to help fielder gets good mobility when they starts moving by stepping first with the leg that's opposite of the direction they're running. If a fielder is moving to the right, he would cross-step with his left leg in front and use the right leg to push away creating high running momentum and vice versa, the player would cross-step with his right leg first to the left when moving to the left direction.

Cross-fire

A pitcher can also apply the cross-step technique into his pitching, it is usually used to enhance the effectiveness of the in-course pitches. However, the changes are made to the delivery motion instead of the grips and therefore is not considered to be part of the breaking pitches family. When used by a left-handed pitcher, instead of stepping his right leg and pointing the feet directly towards home base like normal, the feet would move horizontally away from home base and pointing more towards 1st base. This shifts the release point of the pitcher horizontally to the left, causing the pitch to have a more diagonal trajectory when it travel to the inside corner of the zone instead of straight trajectory. The bigger angle created from a cross-fire delivery makes it more difficult for the opposite handed batter to get a clean hit on the ball.

Different from the manga's description, the cross-fire can be also utilized by a right-handed pitcher as well and is not exclusive to South Paw pitchers. One example of a right-handed pitcher that constantly utilizes the cross-fire delivery is Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs.

Users

Pitcher Description Image
Sawamura Eijun Sawamura unknowingly learned this by accident after the match against Sensen Highschool and has been using the technique ever since.

Special feature: Not only can Sawamura throw a Fastball as his Cross-fire, he can also throw the Cutter with this technique and causes the ball to break inside to a right handed batter at the plate.

Sawamura crossfire
Narumiya Mei Narumiya occasionally utilizes the cross-fire delivery to enhance the effectiveness of his pitches.
Cross-fire

Slide-step

Slide-step or quick step is a stepping technique that help the pitcher increase the pace of the delivery (note: not the pitch's velocity) by finishing the delivery movement early. A normal full delivery would include the wind-up motion before stepping forward as far as possible in order to create the rotation momentum for the body. When executing a quick throw, the pitcher would not wind-up but instead slides forward mid-way through the motion in order to increase the pace of the delivery. This might results in a slower pitch as there is less momentum generated from the quick step but it helps increase the pace of the delivery. The purpose is to prevent base-stealing strategy that runners employ when a pitcher enters into the wind-up motion or throw a quick wide ball for the catcher to connect with a baseman to get a stealing runner out.

Users

Pitcher Description Image
Furuya Satoru Miyuki and Furuya worked on this technique early in the series. Since the lower velocity helps Furuya control his pitches better, the Slide-step has been utilized by Miyuki on numerous occasions. In addition, Furuya's fastball can be faster than expected even when thrown with a slide-step and this allows Miyuki to make fast play and get stealing runners out. TBA
Sawamura Eijun Chris taught Sawamura the techniques for picking of runners along with the slide step some time during the Summer training camp. Sawamura employed this technique early in the series in the practice match against Osaka Kiryuu High School.[1] Sawamura slide step

References

  1. S1 - Episode 17

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