There are almost an endless amount of baseball situations and scenarios that can come up during the course of a game. In fact, things can change from pitch to pitch and batter to batter depending on what happens. Teams need to be ready to adjust to each individual situation and know what to do in that given scenario. So for those who think that baseball is not a thinking man’s sport, think again. Players and coaches need to always be on their toes both mentally and physically when playing.
On this page, we’ll cover a variety of different baseball situations and how best to handle them. Although it’s hard to cover all of the different scenarios, here are some that will most likely come up during the course of a game or a season.
Teaching a youth baseball team about baseball defensive plays and situations is one of the top priorities a coach should have! Have you ever watched a very talented youth baseball team that wasn’t winning? There is a very good chance that the coach may be just “riding” the talent and not coaching his players about the game…
Offensively, teams know what they are trying to execute on any given pitch. It is the defensive team that must react to that situation. Youth baseball coaches MUST practice and teach ALL types of possible situations on a regular basis if they want their teams to react well during a baseball game situation. If the players have never practiced a situation that happens in the game, the will fail.
There are all kinds of situations that need to be covered on a regular basis during a youth baseball practice. They include bunt situations, 1st and 3rd situations, double cut-off situations, steal attempts and much more. Youth baseball coaches must prepare their athletes for these situations if the athletes are going to be expected to perform during a baseball game.
Below are links to some defensive situations that coaches need to address with their team. Read and learn from them. If you have your own drill that works great for you, be sure to submit your own drill below.
DEFENSIVE CUTOFF SITUATIONS
DEFENSIVE CHEAT SHEET
9 Legged Monster – This defensive cheat sheet is a MUST HAVE! Basic info for that every kid needs to know about all 9 positions!
Download this, for free, right now. Print it out (back to back), laminate it and give it to all of your players.
OTHER BASEBALL DEFENSIVE SITUATIONS
Stealing Defense (who covers what base)
In summary, be sure to teach your team how to react to as many baseball situations as you possibly can. That is the only way to ensure that your players will have a chance to make the correct play in a game. Practice, practice, and practice…
Baseball Situations Quiz
Do you know the essentials of baseball situations with runners on and the ball put in play? Take our baseball situations quiz and test your knowledge!
Baseball Scenarios and Game Situations
Playing the Infield In
This situation is normally one that the coach decides based on the situation in the game. When the decision is made to play the infield in, it’s usually at a point in the game where they feel they really can’t afford to give up another run when there is a runner on third base. Infielders should know how far in to play in this situation. Typically, the corner infielders will move up several steps to the area where the grass is on fields that have it. The middle infielders will take several steps in or close enough where they can field the ball and make a play at the plate. In any case, the goal is to field the ball if it is hit on the ground to a drawn in infielder and either hold the runner at third or have time to throw the runner out at the plate.
Sacrifice Bunt – Runners on the Corners
In this situation, the defense most likely is not expecting a bunt. But for the offensive team, doing so has a couple of different purposes. One, if the sacrifice is successful, they move two runners in to scoring position. Two, there is a possibility, based on how good the bunt attempt was, that the runner at third base could score, while at the same time moving the runner at first over to second base.
So how does the defense defend this play? Well, regardless of the scenario, they should always be aware that a bunt is possible and if they see the batter squaring around to bunt, start moving in to make a play. But the goal of the defense should be to make sure that the runner on third base doesn’t score while attempting to throw the runner out who was on first base trying to get to second. At the very least, check the runner at third and then get the sure out at first if you can.
During the course of any team’s baseball season, there will be situations where defensively, your team will need to execute a rundown situation. It may be because you have a runner picked off, a base runner stopped halfway between a base or just because the ball is hit behind the runner and he has no other option. No matter what, there is a right way and a wrong way to execute these situations. And because they happen quickly and usually without warning, the defense will need to think quickly aout the proper execution.
In a standard rundown situation, regardless of which base the runner was at, the execution for the defense is the same. Whether it is the first, second or third baseman who receives the pickoff throw, they will run hard towards the runner with the baseball in their hand. Do not leave the ball in the glove because that will just be an extra step needed to throw the ball and can throw off the timing. Also, run quickly towards the runner, but not too fast since that could cause a bad throw.
The infielder receiving the throw should begin moving towards the runner and ready to receive the throw. Moving towards the runner decreases the chance that the runner will be able to stop and change directions once the throw is made. However, if they do, the infielder receiving the throw will start the process again of running towards the runner with the ball in their hand.
Relay Throws to Home Plate
There are times when the ball is hit to the outfield and a relay is necessary to get the ball to home plate to catch a runner trying to score. This can happen even more so in youth baseball where players aren’t able to throw a ball all the way to the plate on their own. This requires a relay to an infielder who then can complete the throw to home.
Players in this scenario need to be aware that a runner on base could possibly score on the play and get into position. The infielder taking the throw should line up between the outfielder and home plate and the outfielder should throw the ball to them around chest high if possible. Once the cutoff man has received the throw, they should turn and make a strong throw to the catcher to attempt to catch the runner trying to score.
Although this is a scenario that may not happen very often, players need to be aware that it still could. Obviously, this play will happen when there is a runner at third base. Teams could execute this two different ways. There is the Safety Squeeze where the runner at third doesn’t break for home until they see the bunt laid down. The other option is the Suicide Squeeze where the runner takes off for home as the pitchers arm starts to come forward to make the pitch. The assumption is that the hitter will get the bunt down no matter where the ball is pitched.
For the defense, the play needs to be made by either the pitcher, catcher or corner infielders. Should the bunt get down successfully, the only play is to field the bunt cleanly and make a quick throw to try and catch the runner from scoring. Also, if the pitcher sees the runner going before they release the pitch, they can make a pitch that the hitter can’t bunt which could leave the runner an easy out.
Grounder to the Right Side – Pitcher Covers First
Although this is something teams should be practicing with their pitchers, it is still a play that needs proper execution. When a ball is hit on the ground to the right side of the infield, the pitcher needs to get to the first base bag as quickly as possible to cover. Whether the ball is hit directly to the first baseman or hit between first and second, there is no guarantee that the first baseman can get to the bag and make the play. The pitchers goal on this play is to make sure they beat the runner to the bag, catch the throw and get their foot on the bag.
Wild Pitch – Runner on Third Base
Another important play that a pitcher needs to be aware of is trying to stop a runner who is on third base from scoring on a wild pitch. If the ball gets past the catcher with a runner on third, the pitchers primary responsibility is to move quickly to cover home plate. Any hesitation on their part could allow the runner to beat them to home and score. Even if the runner takes a few steps or comes halfway and stops, the pitcher still needs to get in position for a toss from the catcher. There could be a possibility that the runner gets caught off of third and the pitcher could make a throw to pick them off.
This is a situation in which the pitcher and the catcher need to both know is coming in order to execute it correctly. That is the only way that the catcher can get in position to make a strong throw to either catch a runner stealing or pick them off. Therefore, they should both have a signal that verifies they have received the pitch out sign. The infielders should also be aware of the play so that they can be ready to receive the throw on the steal or pickoff attempt.
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