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Thread: Defensive shifts

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    Softball Junkie CoachJD's Avatar
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    Default Defensive shifts

    Anybody who watches baseball closely knows that we're living in an era of extreme defensive shifting (an infielder playing in shallow RF vs. lefties, four outfielders, etc). I don't much want to get into a discussion of whether people like it or even how effective it is as a strategy in MLB.

    What I wonder is if anybody has seen anything like this in softball, and if not, why not? I wonder if it's a lack of data at the highest levels (we don't have detailed spray charts of even the best hitters in the world). Is it something about the differences in the two games that would make defensive shifts in softball bad strategy?

    What kind of shifting have you employed in games? Anything drastic or unusual? I don't think I've seen anything more complicated than a 3B coming in much closer than you'd ever see in baseball. You'll see middle IFs shift a few feet one way or another, OFs will move in or back. But that seems to be about it.

    (I once had to have a girl play CF, RF, and 2B at the same time because we only had 7 players, but I'm not sure that qualifies as "shifting" as much as it was "desperately trying to get through the game.")


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    I can talk softball all day CPEM's Avatar
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    I've only noticed it once. 12u travel, for a right-handed batter, the opposition shifted their outfield so that the RF played near the line, CF was actually in right-center, and the LF was playing near CF, shading a bit into left-center. Left field was complete open. The pitcher was very fast and every pitch was on the outside part of the plate. They would shift in the other direction for a left-handed batter. In that game, it worked. Any ball we managed to get into the outfield was all to the side they shifted to.

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball quincy's Avatar
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    We have one good hitter that I do not think has hit the ball right of 2nd base . She is just a pull hitter.

    You need to scout to know it.

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    I can talk softball all day Comocoach's Avatar
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    OU would shift to 5 infielders and no left fielder when Paige Lowary faced right handed batters.

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    Softball Junkie CoachJD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comocoach View Post
    OU would shift to 5 infielders and no left fielder when Paige Lowary faced right handed batters.
    Would they place the extra IF right behind second base? Would they stack one side?

    We play a lot of teams with weak hitters. I've actually considered going to 5 IF at times. I don't think I'd leave left wide open though. I'd probably pinch the two remaining OFs in so they're LCF/RCF.

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    I can talk softball all day Comocoach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoachJD View Post
    Would they place the extra IF right behind second base? Would they stack one side?

    We play a lot of teams with weak hitters. I've actually considered going to 5 IF at times. I don't think I'd leave left wide open though. I'd probably pinch the two remaining OFs in so they're LCF/RCF.
    2B plays deep closer to 1st, SS moved to 2B position, one OF (best infielder of the 3) moves to SS. The thought is that nobody is going to be able to pull a 75mph pitch.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk

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    Certified softball maniac Westwind's Avatar
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    Shift works best if pitcher hits spots exceptionally well and someone who really knows what they are doing with pitch calling. It can really work in that case.
    Last edited by Westwind; 11-17-2018 at 10:11 AM.
    Some ol’ slicks tryin’ to give me friction.

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    Certified softball maniac YOCOACH's Avatar
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    It depends on the team I'm playing, the Pitcher I have in at the time and how well the opposing team hits and/or is hitting that particular game. That said, against lefty slappers, you will see my F4 and F5 halfway up the line, F3 back a little deeper than normal and a little further towards 2nd than usual, my LF playing about 20' in the grass and closer to the line than normal and my RF playing shallow RC about 10' off the grass. Very effective through 14U. At 16U deepen your OFers up by another 15' or so and you're good to go.
    "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."~ Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

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    I can talk softball all day mudrunner's Avatar
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    I have seen an outfielder pulled in to the infield to defend slappers in 12 & 14U. It worked against young/beginning slappers, but as they got older & learned some bat control it was not as effective of a defensive strategy. That's really the only type of shift I recall seeing in softball.

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    Member Chris Delorit's Avatar
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    JD,

    Some also refer to that as a calculated shift. Quincy hit the nail on the head - scouting. I'll toss in some database collection to his suggestion.

    I'm a proponent of any shift formation where that aggregate provides a calculation that is weighted beneficially toward the defense for a specific situation.

    Sure, it works in softball.

    Chris

    Last edited by Chris Delorit; 11-23-2018 at 03:06 AM.

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