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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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Situational play advice

Here is the situation:
Runners on first and second. One out. Ball is hit down the left field line but not deep.
The discussion at practice is where does the first baseman go?
We had the pitcher backing up third on any possible throw to third.
I suggested the first baseman should go back up the catcher for any possible play at the plate.
Other coaches said the first baseman should follow behind the hitter if he should take off for second, or stay at first for any possible run down play.

I have always had the left fielder back up for throws to second from right feild. And the right fielder back up throws to second from left. So the right fielder would be in position to back up IF any throws were made into second on the play mentioned above.

My thought process is that you do not throw behind the runners and worry about some possible run down for the hitter when you have two others runners on base. The play would not be on the right side of the field. The left fielder would throw to third, or home for the runner scoring from second if the play dictates.

Someone please tell me a good reason not to have the first baseman backing up home plate instead of worrying about some play between first and second, or a play at first?

Thank you for any comments.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 09:10 PM
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The first baseman should remain at his base unless the second baseman is recieving the throw from the left fielder. The reason for this is because if the left fielder catches it, and the runner at first is caught off but the first baseman is at home or somewhere else... you can't get the double play. Not only that, but without a first baseman at first, it allows the runner who is on first to linger off and/or easily tag up and head into second without worrying about having the left fielder, or any fielder, back door him.

There should be no reason, no reason at all for the first base man to cover home plate. First of all, it's dangerous. Having the first baseman cover homeplate is granting the runner an easy collision, not hurting him at all. And yes, it is completly legal to run the first base man over at home plate. The only other player who should cover home plate, at all, is the pitcher. But the only time you will see this happen is on a past ball and the runner from third is trying to score.

The other situation you could have is having the first baseman cover second. Like I said earlier, if the second baseman is taking the throw from the fielder, the first baseman should be trailing behind the runner.. like you said. But he should not be trailing behind the runner if the second baseman or shortstop, or anyone is covering second.

Basically, the first baseman needs to stay at first base. Unless their is no one covering second, his job is to guard first base.

Hope I helped! Let me know if you have anymore questions.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you.

I'm still at a loss.

The hit mentioned was a base hit into short left field. So no double up of the first base runner would be in play.

And with runners on first and second taking off for third and second, why worry about throwing behind the runners back to first?

You also mention about the first baseman "covering" home plate. I agree with a safety issue for a collision at home. But my question had to do with backing up the catcher on a throw home, so if any throw was made and it was off target, the first baseman could stop any further damage by another runner taking off for home on the over throw.

So on the play mentioned, we have the SS go out for any cutoff if needed. We have third base covered by the third baseman. We have the pitcher backing up third. We have the 2B covering second base. The right fielder is backing up any throw to second, even though I teach NOT to throw behind the runners, and the throw should be coming into third on any short base hit to left with runners on 1st and 2nd.

So with all that said, the first base stays at first. The throw comes into third, the bases are loaded, or perhaps there is a play at home plate, and the first baseman watches from a distance.

I'll have to give this some more thought.

Last edited by Bjornball; 11-05-2012 at 09:51 PM.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-10-2012, 08:10 PM
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The 1st base man should not cover home or back up home. That is soley the pitchers job. If the ball is hit into left field here's how it should go:

Situation 1:

Runners on first and second, base hit to left.

Runner from second attempts to score from 2nd.

Pitcher BACKS UP CATCHER, third base man recieves/cut offs throw from the left fielder.

Shortstop covers third.

Second base man covers second.

First base man covers first.

Situation 2:

Runner's on first and second.

Runner on second tries to advance to home, and runner on first tries to advance to third.

Third base man takes throw from left fielder to cut off the throw going home, if you can get the runner at home, get him. If not, watch the runner from first. He should not be able to advance to second if the third base man cuts him off.

Shortstop NEEDS to cover third on this play. If there is no-one covering third base, it's an easy 90-feet for the runner trying to advance to third.

First base man should trail the runner, if the second base man is covering second, he should back up second in case of bad throw or getting the runner in a pickle.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 06:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you Kelzzy.

I think the problem is perhaps more than one item. I can't argue with your suggestion with the first baseman, IF all other things were also in line with your positioning.

The first thing of difference (Remembering I am NOT the manager dictating the play or where the pitcher goes) is he has the pitcher backing up third base, and not home plate. He has the pitcher backing up third base on the play mentioned. I don't mind this, but it does expose or lack any support on throws home, where we now have no backup.

He also has the SS go out for ANY cutoffs to left field, and never the third baseman. And we have the left/right fielder backing up any throws to second from the opposite side, keeping in mind that we are talking little league play here, and outfielders are not that deep, and we are not talking 90 foot base paths. (This is why I posted this in the little league forum)

Keeping all that in mind....I would never suggest that a player at this age (8-9-10) throw behind the runners, or attempt to get a runner in a run down while throwing behind runners on the basepath. This just invites overthrows, errors, and additonal runs, especially at this age group. Primary concern is the stoppage of play, and not allowing any further advanacement of runners. Getting the batter, with two runners in front of him, into a pickle, and thinking we are going to pick him off first or get him in a rundown, is the last thing in mind.

I agree with what you said, with the pitcher backing up home plate. But the head coach wants him backing up third. And on this particular play, for any hopes of ever making a play at home, (or the split decision that has a player throwing home when perhaps he should not) just exposes the team with more runs if there was a throw and it was of target or overthrown at home. The chances of that happening at this age level is far greater than any thought of throwing behind the runners, and getting the hitter, while leaving open the chance of further damage or advancement of the runners in front of him. And it leaves open the question of why not have the first baseman back up home for bad throws home, when we teach not to throw the ball around, or behind runners in the first place.

So from what you suggest, and I am not argueing, it looks like perhaps more than one player is out of the proper position from what we are doing, and what you are suggesting.

My angle was that we would never throw back to first anyways, even if the opportunity presents it, and put ourselves in a position of making a bad throw, and then having another runner scoring, keeping in mind the original play outlined.

Thank you so much for your comments.

Last edited by Bjornball; 11-12-2012 at 08:20 AM.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-19-2012, 07:00 PM
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Royals Situational Play advice


In my experiences in coaching kids of a young age is to teach them the basic back ups rules. That being said, I always have my 11 yr. olds back up the base that the play will probably be at. In the sitation you described, R2 would get to third for sure, so the throw would be lined up to home. That means the pitcher would automatically move to back up home. I understand when they are young it can be tough to get there for the first baseman, but it's a great lesson on hustling and staing in the game. If they are competitive and you have your athletes move in on possible bunt situations, he would be close enough to get there. I also teach my kids in this situation...3rd baseman takes the cut, short stop continues to third base.
Remember, you will have different athletes with different abilities, and some have a stronger awareness than others. I think the model you want is consistency.
I agree that you shouldn't throw behind the runner, but with comp teams it's a good idea to throw that situation into the mix to see how the kids react, then teach through it. That's where the right fielder comes in.
My boys take a written test twice a season, and I include this question on every test: "What's the one time on a ball hit into fair territory that a fielder doesn't have to back up?" The answer: None. Everyone has a place to be. We have full practices some days so they learn to react on balls hit, think between pitches.
YOU are the coach and know your kids. If a particular way helps your team, then run with it.

My background is HS, College, and 2 years of Major League time as an outfielder with the Royals in the mid 90's. One season with the Indians ('97 ML Spring Training), Mike Hargrove made us play this game called "27". He would hit a ball, and every single player on the field had to be in the right spot. Any bad throw or incorrect positioning, we had to start over. LONG days with Manny on that team!! Anwyay, I do "9" with the boys the first 2 weeks, and add 3 more every 2 weeks until we reach "18". The kids love it, because it keeps them in the game. The key is to make the kids move around into different positions every 3 outs. Helps them to learn every single position even if they don't play it. Helps them relax and perform better in the long run, and it keeps practices fun.

Hope it helps. Have a great Thanksgiving!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-21-2012, 07:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you. That helps.
The way it was stated at the practice by the head coach was "The first baseman ALWAYS follows the runner". And I was seeking a reason for this hard stance as if it was written in concrete by the baseball gods or something. I understand earlier comments about safety, but at this level we don't allow outright contact by running over any player, even with plays at home plate. It is the runners responsibility to slide or avoid contact as safety takes priority.

I think all the replies have helped. I agree that it comes dowm to individual ability and the play is dictated by player abilities and teaching consistency.

Thank you and have a great Thanksgiving holiday.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-22-2012, 11:15 PM
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That's BS.. The first baseman does not "ALWAYS"follow the runner. What happens if someone is already covering second? So.. he wants two people at 2nd? That's what you call an easy way out of an out. All the runner has to do know is turn around and run back into first, because nobodies covering it.
Tell that to your coach.

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