Runners on First And Third

When there are runners on first and third, you should have a defense prepared to deal with it. I want to take a moment to explain this situation to the new coaches. What the offensive team wants to do in this situation is to have the runner from 1st steal 2nd and draw the throw from the catcher so the runner from 3rd can steal home. For the 10U age group, this is not a big deal because a runner can not steal home yet.

Defending this play can be handled in several ways. The first option is to just let the runner steal 2nd. While I do not use this option, it does prevent the runner from 3rd from scoring. Here are a few options that I do use. It is important to practice these options and make sure everyone involved knows what they are supposed to do.

Have the short stop run between 2nd and the pitcher to take a throw and try to convince the runner at 3rd to steal home. Make the return throw to the catcher for the tag.

If the runners from 1st are dogging it down to 2nd, have the short stop run between 2nd and the pitcher just like the last option; only make the throw to the 2nd base player to tag the runner out.

Just go ahead and make the throw to the short stop covering 2nd base for the tag out. The runner at 3rd and the 3rd base coach might not think that this is even an option. If there are already 2 outs, it could end the inning and the runner at 3rd is no longer a threat to score. Sometimes we just over think the runners on first and third situation.

Have the catcher pop up like she is going to throw to 2nd, but instead, gun it to 3rd and catch the runner at 3rd leaning toward home.

Have the left fielder come up behind the 3rd base area and have the catcher and 3rd base player act as if they made a bad throw to 3rd base. The left fielder catches the intentionally overthrown ball and you catch the runner at 3rd base in a run down.

As you can see, there are a number of defensive options for this situation. Again, you want to practice the options that you are going to use and have a verbal signal that lets your players know what option to use.

From First And Third Return to Fastpitch Defensive Strategies
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The coach is the person who communicates with parents, players, umpires, other coaches and your local associations. You facilitate the team by making sure all the equipment is there when it is needed. Most important are the players. You are teaching more than the skills and strategies of fastpitch. The ability to gracefully deal with success and failure, the persistence to keep trying and the confidence that these young ladies learn from you is priceless.

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