Runner on First
With a runner on first, the main objective of this defense is to get an out. Most likely this will occur by throwing the ball to first base. Making a play at second is risky due to the length of the throw. A poor throw or trying to make a play at second when the runner has a good chance of beating the throw can end up in two runners on and no outs. Unless the catcher calls for the play to go to second, the player fielding the ball should assume the play is at first base.
A play at second will most likely be successful on a ball that is bunted right in front of home plate where the catcher can field the ball quickly and make the throw. The only other time a play should be attempted at second is on a ball that is bunted hard directly at one of the fielders charging the ball. The catcher will have to judge the speed of the ball, the position of the fielder and the jump of the runner to determine if the play can be made at second. If there is any doubt, the catcher should call for the play to go to first.
Field any ball that is in front of you that you can get to before or at the same time as the pitcher or first baseman. You have an easier throw since your momentum is moving you towards the field. Unless you can clearly get to the ball before the third baseman, you will want to yield and let him field the ball. His angle will give him a better opportunity to throw the runner out at first than you. Remember, the key in this play is to get an out. If you're not sure that the lead runner can easily be thrown out, call for the ball to be thrown to first.
You will break towards home as the pitcher delivers the pitch to the plate. Go in under control and make sure the hitter doesn't fake the bunt and then swing away. If the bunt is fielded by anyone else but you, it's your responsibility to immediately return to 3rd to cover the bag.
If the third baseman fields the ball, it's your responsibility to cover third base.
You must first hold the runner on first and then break towards home as the pitch is delivered.
You will be covering first on the play.
You will be covering second base.
Make sure the hitter doesn't fake bunt and swing away before breaking to cover second. If a fake bunt is used to help cover a steal, you must break to cover second even if the second baseman was determined to cover second on a steal before the play. If he reads bunt, he will be heading towards first and will not be in position to cover second on the steal.
On a bunt down the first base line, you will first break to back up second base in case of a bad throw, once you have determined the ball will not be thrown to second, run towards third base. You may be required to cover the base if the third baseman or the pitcher fails to cover.
Back up second base.
Back up first base.
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Just wanted to say Thank you for the great website. Great information for this new coach. It sounds like baseball gave a lot to your life, so thanks for giving back to baseball.
- Ray K.