How to defend stealing?

by jonv@advancegraphic.net
(Michigan)



Girls softball 11-13 age group.
Situation: Runner on third, no outs, girl at plate gets ball 4 and the ball is thrown back to the pitcher in the circle. Batter runs to 1st then rounds it and attempts to steal 2nd. Pitcher has the ball in the circle with the girl on 3rd, off the base ready to steal home. Do I give her the free 2nd base and protect the run? What's the ruling on a girl leading off and the pitcher with the ball in the circle? It seems to me there is no way to defend both runners at the same time!

I need Help!

Thanks,
Coach Jon

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No real good answer
by: Dan

With no outs and runner on third, if the batter walks, they are going to take second. The reason they can go down to second from first is because they never stopped at first. It is continuation. So even if the ball is in the circle, the play is not dead.

Here is the other thing that you must consider. At this age, how much do you trust your players to throw the ball around? You could possibly throw the ball to the first baseman right after ball four, and that may prevent the batter from going to second, but the runner on third will take off ... maybe.

Here is another thing to consider: What is the score? If you are way ahead, then the runner at third isn't as important as getting outs, so put a play in to get the out. Again, at this age, howreliable are the arms?

In most cases, coaches let the runner have second. Not a great situation, having runners at second and third and no outs, but in a close game, better than giving up the run.

I would welcome others thoughts on this one ...

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The runner on 3rd
by: Jon V

Does anyone know at what point or how much time the runner has to return to 3rd base if the pitcher does not attempt to make a play on her?

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Runner on third commits to third
by: Dan

The baserunner must return to third once she commits to going back to third. In other words, she cannot take a lead, turn towards third and then turnaround and run home. This is an out. The only exception is if a play towards the runner is made.

So, with ball 4, the catcher should look towards the runner at third and get her to turn back to third. At that point she is committed to returning to third and then throw the ball back to the pitcher in the circle. However, if a play is made to get the hitter, now running towards second, the runner at third can now advance at her own risk.

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Can you pump fake to 2nd
by: Jon V

If the catcher pump fakes to 3rd to get the girl going back, throw the ball back to the pitcher, Can the pitcher pump fake to second base to stop the runner from going to 2nd and possibly get the girl going back to 3rd to turn around toward home...thus she would be out?

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On the second pump fake ...
by: Dan

If the pitcher makes a play and "pump fakes" the runner going to second, then the runner at third is free to try to take home as that is a softball play. But, will the runner at third take off before the ball is actually in the air? Doubt it, because the pitcher can wheel around and throw her out (or at least get her in a run down).

In most cases, all the pump fake by the pitcher does is speed up the runner going to second. There are some coaches who will have the runner going to second lolly-gag down to second in hopes of drawing a throw and tell the runner going to second to get caught in a run down long enough to get the runner at third home.

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1st and 3rd
by: Kali Capps

Have the catcher throw the ball to the first baseman standing on 1st. No one will go anywhere. ;) Once that batter is standing on 1st base, she cannot continue to go without being called out. She has to round the base to keep the ball live and if she does that with the ball in the 1st baseman's hand ... well, she'd be tagged out, obviously. The runner on 3rd won't go anywhere. A throw from 2nd base is a chance... a throw from 1st is routine for any girl playing longer than a year or so.
Hope that helps!

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1/3 throwdown
by: Crushers

In my experience with 10u, preventing the steal following a walk is irrelevant. 9 times outta 10 they will steal 2 on the first pitch anyway!

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1st/ 3rd situation
by: Bill

Well here is what I would do. After the walk immediately throw back to the pitcher which will force the girl back to third. While the runner is running down to 1st have you 1st baseman walk slightly toward second with her head down at the same time have your right fielder come in. The pitcher pretend to ignore the runner then she wheels around and throws to the 1st baseman for the easy tag. If she misses or the runner stops at first she is ready to throw home. The runner from 3rd should be caught easily if she tries it.
Mind you then it only delays the inevitable steal on the next pitch which you can do nothing about.

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Throw to the Short Stop
by: Steve

With a runner on third and a runner being sent to first after a walk.

The Short Stop will slowly advance toward home plate angled toward second. The catcher will pump fake as if throwing down to thirdbase to force the runner back toward third. If the runner attempts to advance from first to second, the second baseman yells, "she's going". She must sell the act of the steal.

The catcher immediately sets up to throw to second but throws to the short stop.

Generally the runner at third will break home believing the throw is going to second.

The Short Stop fires the ball back to the catcher.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn,t. The best ending is the runner going to second returns to first but the runner at third buys into throw and is tagged out at home.


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fire drill
by: Anonymous

Our 10u team used to have the 2nd basemen move to baseline between 1st and 2nd catcher throws back to pitcher 1st basemen yells fire pitcher looks runner at 3 red back throws to 2ndbasemen who tags runner or throws home usually getting runner from 3rd because of hesitation on the look back

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another option
by: Caroline Powell

Assuming that ball 4 was something the catcher got ahold of....the catcher pops up, ball in throwing hand and walks out towards third, keeping an eye on the runner going to second. The SS should be moving towards 2nd, and the 2nd baseman comes up behind the pitcher. 3rd baseman covers home. A) If there is a play at 2nd, the catcher either throws to the 2nd baseman to either tag the runner, or fire it home (3rd baseman is now covering), if the runner on 3rd goes. The catcher then covers 3rd for a possible run down. The pitcher should be back up, in a position between 1st and home, and to hustle back to the circle when needed.

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