Bunt Defense
Counteracting Small Ball

When the other team turns to small ball, bunt defense is your most effective way to counteract them. We provided two examples of basic small ball defense on the softball practice drills page. In that case, we introduced the idea of the leftfielder covering third base while your third baseman is charging the bunt. On this page, we will provide a few other ways to play the bunt.



The success or failure of your bunt coverage will rest on the shoulders of your catcher. The catcher is the only player on your team who has a clear view of how the play is developing. She should be the person who calls out which of the charging players should field the ball (including herself) and what base the ball should be thrown to. The ideal play will result in the lead runner being forced out; a good play is getting an out somewhere. I can’t think of a bad out (except maybe a catch in foul territory for either the first or second out that results in the winning run scoring), so always stress to your team to get at least one out.

The first example of bunt defense provides an example of the rotation play. In this bunt defense, the third baseman actually covers third and it is the responsibility of the pitcher, catcher or first baseman to get the bunt up the third baseline. You need an athletic pitcher who has very good reaction time to the ball to do this play successfully on a consistent basis. You also want you third baseman to really sell the idea that she is charging to coax the batter to bunt up the first baseline.

Note that in the last three examples of bunt defense, the second baseman is playing up instead of the first baseman. This bunt defense is deployed when your first baseman and pitcher may not have great reaction time to the bunt. The second baseman, traditionally quicker, steps up and covers the first baseline. This is to discourage the other team from bunting and slapping by moving another quick infielder up on the bunt defense. The first baseman plays more toward the second base hole.


Situation 1: Rotation Bunt Defense with Runners on First and Second


Rotation Bunt Defense with Runners on First and Second When the ball is bunted, the first baseman, catcher and pitcher move to field the ball with the catcher communicating who has it. Primary is the pitcher or catcher down the third baseline and first baseman down first baseline. The second baseman covers first base. The shortstop covers second. The third baseman covers third after acting like she is charging. The leftfielder backs up the throw to third. The right fielder backs up the throw to first. Centerfielder backs up second. The catcher calls out what base the ball is to be thrown to. The best play is to get the force out at third. The right play is to get an out somewhere.




Situation 2: Bunt Defense with Second Baseman Playing Up with No Runners


Bunt Defense with Second Baseman Playing Up with No Runners Change to this defensive alignment if the pitcher and first baseman have struggled to cover the bunt up the first baseline. When the ball is bunted, the second baseman, third baseman, catcher and pitcher move to field the ball with the catcher communicating who has it. Primary is third baseman down the third baseline and second baseman down first baseline unless directly at the pitcher or right in front of the plate where the catcher can get it easily. The first baseman covers first base. The shortstop covers second. The leftfielder covers third. She must get to third so the runner at first does not advance to third because no one is covering third base. The right fielder moves up the right filed line to back up the throw to first. The centerfielder backs up second base should there be a throw to second. The throw should go to first.




Situation 3: Bunt to Third Baseline with Second Baseman Up & Rotation on with Runners on First and Second


Bunt to Third Baseline with Second Baseman Up & Rotation on with Runners on First and Second When the ball is bunted, the second baseman, catcher and pitcher move to field the ball with the catcher communicating who has it. Primary is the pitcher down the third baseline and second baseman down first baseline unless right in front of the plate where the catcher can get it easily. The first baseman covers first base. The shortstop covers second. The third baseman covers third. The left fielder backs up the throw to third. The right fielder moves up the right filed line to back up the throw to first. Centerfielder backs up second. The catcher calls out what base the ball is to be thrown to. The best play is to get the force out at third. The right play is to get an out somewhere.




Situation 4: Bunt to First Baseline with Second Baseman Up & Rotation on with Runners on First and Second


Bunt to First Baseline with Second Baseman Up & Rotation on with Runners on First and Second When the ball is bunted, the second baseman, catcher and pitcher move to field the ball with the catcher communicating who has it. Primary is the pitcher down the third baseline and second baseman down first baseline unless right in front of the plate where the catcher can get it easily. The first baseman covers first base. The shortstop covers second. The third baseman covers third. The left fielder backs up the throw to third. The right fielder moves up the right field line to back up the throw to first. Centerfielder backs up second. The catcher calls out what base the ball is to be thrown to. The best play is to get the force out at third. The right play is to get an out somewhere.




Here are a few bunt defense situations. If you have a few situational bunt defense drills you would like to add, please enter them below. Your fellow coaches will appreciate your contributions. If you would handle any of the situations above differently, please also join in below. Finally, if you have questions, feel free to ask.

Have a Great Softball Drill?

Do you have a softball drill that you find to be simple to use but very effective? Share it!

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]

 

Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

 submission guidelines.


(You can preview and edit on the next page)

What Other Coaches Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Situation 4: Bunt to First Baseline with Second Baseman Up & Rotation on with Runners on First and Second  
Picture shows Second baseman covering 1st, whereas text says 2B crashes to get bunt. This is the last scenario under bunting.

Really? 
In situations 2 and 3 you are calling for the 2nd baseman to be involved with a bunt on 3rd baseline. Really?

Click here to write your own.






Top of Bunt Defense

Home to Fastpitch Softball Coaching

Return to Fastpitch Softball Drills



New! Comments

Your turn now! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Search Our
Family of Sites:




Translate the Page




Equipment Corner

fastpitch softball coaching
Coaching Guides & DVDs

fastpitch softball coaching
Fastpitch Bats

fastpitch softball coaching
Fielding Gloves



Follow us on
Twitter




Become a
Facebook Fan