What is the best way to turn double play with bases loaded and ball hit to pitcher?
by Scott (Kentucky)
What is the best way to turn a double play with bases loaded and the ball hit back to the pitcher? I help coach a 12-year-old team with a head coach that played college baseball. What is the best way to turn a double play at that age, or any age, with bases loaded and 1 out and the ball hit back to the pitcher on one bounce? Is this same play taught at every age or does it change at high school level, college or pro levels?
The Coach’s Answer
Thanks for the good question about turning a double play! In the situation you just described, I would always teach my players to use the 1-2-3 double play. The pitcher to catcher to first baseman double play is much easier to turn compared to the 1-6-3 double play.
There are a couple reasons for this:
- Easier Throw – In the 1-2-3 double play, the pitcher is throwing to a non-moving target (catcher) which makes an easier throw for the 1st out. In contrast, when turning a 1-6-3 double play, the pitchers must deal with a moving shortstop (more difficult to complete).
- No Run Scored – If you don’t complete the double play, you have, at least, forced the runner out at home plate and no run has scored. If you don’t complete the 1-6-3 double play, the runner at third base will score.
In summary, I would always teach (and remind during the game) my youth baseball players (or any level) to get the 1-2-3 double play in that situation.
NOTE : As with any double play, I also emphasize getting the first out of the double play. Some players tend to be so worried about getting both outs, they rush their first throw and that’s when the “wheels fall off” and you could give up a big inning!
Thanks for the question and I would love to hear comments with your thoughts below.
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