Baseball Photo Tip #4: Stick with autofocus. Manual focus is great if you are shooting the batter only, but you’ll have better luck quickly focusing on the action point with autofocus. Just be sure to press half way to set the focus where you want it and then start shooting. Not doing this can cause the camera to adjust it’s focus while you’re shooting and miss the shot.
Major secret alert! For pitchers and batters, I focus on the face before the pitch, press the shutter button halfway, then move the center of the frame slightly ahead of the batter or pitcher. This allows you to anticipate their forward motion and keep the photo in focus. It also puts the face in the ideal space. A composition rule of thumb is to think of your frame as a tic-tac-toe board and try to get the face on one of the intersection points rather than dead center.