The second base player is typically a right handed. A left handed player would have to turn all the way around to throw to 1st base creating a delay and allowing the runner a better chance to get to 1st safely. This is the same situation for the short stop and 3rd base positions. This player does not have to have a strong arm or a great glove. They are close enough to 1st that they can knock the ball down and still have time to pick it up and get it to 1st for the out. Having said that, I would still prefer this person to have a good arm and glove.
The starting spot for the second base player would be 2/3 of the way toward 2nd from 1st and two steps behind the base line for a right handed batter. If a left handed batter is up, I would move them two steps deeper and two steps closer to the 1st. If you are coaching an 8U or 10U team, move them up one step in front of the base line for a left handed batter and two steps closer to home for a right hander.
If the batter squares to bunt, she should be covering 1st base for the throw.
If the ball is hit to the 1st base side of her, her angle of pursuit should be directly at 1st base. This will not put the second base player in the path of a 1st base player going after a ball and if the 1st base player fields the ball, then she should continue to run to 1st base to possibly receive the throw. If she ends up fielding the ball, she could make the play at 1st herself or throw/toss the ball to either the 1st base player or pitcher who would be covering the base.
If the ball is hit to the right of her, she would take a pursuit angle directly at 2nd base. If she can field the ball, she could (with a runner on 1st) either step on 2nd herself or toss the short stop the ball covering the bag. If the hit is on the short stop side of 2nd, she would continue running to 2nd to cover for the possible throw.
If a hit goes into left field, then 2nd would react that direction and end up covering the bag for a throw into the infield. If the hit goes into right field, again, the natural reaction of going after the ball would draw her toward the right fielder that could then make a short accurate throw to her who would act as a cutoff person. The cutoff person could then redirect the throw to another base if needed and because of the shorter throw (than all the way from the outfield) make a more accurate throw.
Center field hits are a little more of a grey area. I would recommend that center field be divided in half. If the hit is to the left side of straight away center, she would cover 2nd base, if it is to the right side, she would go out for the cut off. If it is straight away center field, my opinion is to have the player who is closest to 2nd be the cut off person. This difference would be caused by shifting for a right or left handed batter.
She and short stop have priority over the entire infield for pop flies. The only players that have priority over them on pop flies are the outfielders. If you hear an outfielder call for a catch, get out of their way. If you have a better angle on an infield pop fly, speak up and make sure your team mates hear you.
From Second Base Return to Fastpitch Defensive Strategies
From Second Base Return to Coaching-Fastpitch Home Page