Regular Pitches and Curveballs
The simplest form of pitching is a simple tap of . This will cause your pitcher to throw the ball straight down the middle of the plate at a fairly slow speed. However, this type of pitch is the easiest to curve, which can be done by moving the control stick to the left or right before the ball reaches the plate. You can do this as much as you want, but simple pitches are the easiest to get over the plate.
Charge Pitches and Change-ups
You can throw the ball at a much faster speed by holding down to start your wind up. The speed at which the ball travels is proportional to how long you hold down . If you hold it down longer, the pitch speed is faster. To achieve the fastest speed, release just as the pitcher's arm is coming around level with their head. If done correctly, "NICE!" will appear on the screen. If you wait too long, however, the pitch speed will drastically decrease. This won't take too long to master though.
It's not always a good idea to throw fastball after fastball; instead, mix up your pitches to try to throw off your opponent. A pitcher's wind up for a charge pitch is always the same, whether you throw it fast or slow. "NICE!" throws curve very little, while slower charge pitches can curve more. This way, you can disguise your charge pitch speed and throw a slow curve that has the exact same wind up as a blazing fastball.
There are a few exceptions to this rule. Most power rated characters' charge pitches do not curve. When pitching with Bowser, Donkey Kong, Wario, or a Hammer Bro, the charge pitches do not curve and can be easily hit by just timing the speed of the ball. However, these pitchers make up for this by having higher pitch speeds than other characters.
There is one more type of charge pitch: You can throw a change-up by holding and at the same time. It also has the same wind up as any other charge pitch, but the change-up is slower than Bowser and nearly stops as it reaches the plate. This pitch cannot be curved as much as a regular pitch or even a charge pitch, but it is very hard to hit.
Every player has a star pitch, but most of time the captains' are the only ones worth using. (The captains are Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Yoshi, Birdo, Donkey and Diddy Kong, Wario, Waluigi, Bowser, and Bowser Jr. if you didn't know that already) The way to activate a star pitch is by holding down as you throw the pitch. You must hold down the entire way through the wind up for it to work.
Every star pitch can be identified for a short period of time as the pitch is thrown. A captain's star pitch is given away by its' symbol appearing before the pitch is delivered. This gives the batter time to prepare for the pitch, but they are all tough to hit even with the few seconds' notice. Sub-characters' star pitches are identified by a few stars spiraling into the pitcher's arm as they release the pitch. It doesn't give much notice, but sub-characters' star pitches are easier to hit than the captains'.
Star pitches use team stars. You can have a maximum of five stars that you can get through star chances or the odd quirks of every stadium. Your captain's star pitch uses one star, sub-characters use one star, and any captain-caliber player that is not the official captain uses two stars.
When there is a player on any base, you can throw a pick-off play to try to catch them stealing. You can do this in one of two ways: Press to step off the mound OR Press and either , , or to throw to the base in that direction. (1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively) If your opponent decided to steal, the baserunner will take off and it will be an easy out. If not, the baserunner will dive back to their base safely.
The charge swing is just like the charge pitch- most of the batting has the same controls. Hold down before the pitch to have your player charge up, and release when the pitch crosses the plate to unload on the ball. The charge swing adds more power to your swings, but increases the likelihood of a fly out. A normal swing sometimes finds a gap in the defense, but increases the likelihood of a ground out.
Just like pitching, there are unique star swings for each character. Hold down and swing normally. Do not use a charge swing. The captains' are once again the most favorable to use, but sub-characters can be useful as well. Just like the pitching, your captain's star swing uses one star, sub-characters use one star, and any captain-caliber player that is not the official captain uses two stars.
Bunting (holding the bat out to hit a weak grounder to advance baserunners) is activated by holding down . It is most useful with a runner on base to use it while at the same time holding down , the activator for stealing.
You can move around in the batter's box by moving the control stick the direction you want to move. You can do the same on the pitcher's mound, only not up and down, just left and right.
Basic Fielding and Throwing
Once the ball is hit, it's up to the fielders to get to the ball quickly to get the runner(s) out. You can maneuver one fielder at a time, and that's normally the one closest to the baseball. If you can't tell which one you have control of, there is always a hand pointing to the fielder you control. If the ball is hit on the ground, your best option is to just chase after the ball. However, on a ball hit in the air, there will be a drop spot identified by a circle of stars. The stars are yellow if you aren't in position to catch the ball, and they turn red when you are in position to catch the ball.
Throwing is fairly simple. When you have possession of the ball, move the joystick to point to the base you want to throw to and press . To throw to first base, maneuver the control stick to the right (). Second base is up (); third base is to the left (), and home plate is down ().
Dashing and Diving
Sometimes there will be a ball just out of reach, and if you aren't sure if you can make it on normal speed, it's time for your character to start dashing. To make your character run faster (dash) just repeatedly tap very, very fast.
Even if you do that, you might not be able to reach the drop spot. If you are just on the edge of the drop zone as the ball comes down, you can press and your fielder will perform a special ability. These can be anything from a simple diving catch to climbing an outfield wall. We'll explain these in detail later.
Running the bases
At this point, we shy away from the / approach and throw some new buttons into the mix. When baserunning, you can tell your player to advance to the next base by pressing . Likewise, if you don't think your player will make it, press to make the runner go back to the previous base. It's best to use these controls while having the control stick pointed at the base you want them to go to. You can also dash in the same way as you do while fielding, by pressing repeatedly (or repeatedly pressing when returning to a base). To tell where your players are, you can look at the map in the top right corner.
At any time before the pitcher throws a pitch, if you have runners on base, you can tell them to steal. You do this by pressing before the pitch. You get a fairly good jump on the ball by doing this, however, if you press as the pitcher throws the ball, you'll get a great jump. If you did it right, the usually purple STEAL! sign under the map in the top right corner flashes gold instead. This is useful when trying to get a good jump on a squeeze play or a hit and run.