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2nd Baseman Responsibilities

Aug 20, 2018
3
1
When ball is hit to the first baseman, does anyone have their pitcher cover first base? In baseball, it's the pitcher but in softball it seems like it's usually the 2nd baseman.

We are a competitive rec team (about half the team has played/plays select) but I like to play all the girls at least an inning in the infield. Usually weaker players are at 2nd base. The issue we were having was last game with a runner on first, our 2nd baseman was a little late covering 2nd base when it was hit to shortstop. And when the ball was hit to first base, they were late covering first base. Feel like it would be easier if our 2nd baseman could just shade toward 2nd base so she is ready to cover the bag and not worry about first base.

Also, on bunts, does anyone have the 1st baseman stay home and have the pitcher cover the first base side?
 
May 4, 2014
163
18
So Cal
The girls have to learn at some point. The weaker players only become better if you let them play a position as it was intended.

I think putting a weaker player at second and then changing the coverage because she is weak sends a far worse message than not playing her in that spot to begin with

Ball hit to first the second baseman should be running to back them up or cover 1st

As for bunt coverage I’ve seen it both ways (pitcher or second baseman) - I prefer second baseman but will depend on runners on what base - at the rec level pick one and stick to it but varying it based on who’s at second can cause more confusion than it’s worth (edit to clarify: pitcher never goes to first - I’ve seen pitcher take the bunt on left side when first baseman stays back - that’s what I meant by pitcher covering bunt - I don’t do it but have seen it)



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Last edited:
Apr 30, 2018
202
28
Starting position of the 2nd baseman will also depend on the situation and what you are trying to do. If your trying to pull a double play you may bias the 2nd baseman a little closer to 2nd. If your going for the out at first then you may shade her a bit towards first. Depends on the players reaction time and speed too.

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Jun 11, 2013
2,051
63
Teach the 2B to follow the ball. If it's hit to the left side they cover second if it's hit to the right side and not to them they cover first. In little league baseball it's often 2B that covers on a slow roller to first.

A lot has to do with distance

I baseball it's easier for the P to cover because they have a 30 foot advantage over the hitter (90 foot bases versus approx 60 feet). In softball it's more like 17 feet 60 versus 43 so it's much harder for P to cover although at higher levels you see them do it more.

On the subject I see so many teams try and hide a weak player at 2B. You don't need a rocket arm, but someone who is fast and smart makes such a difference over there.
 

Cannonball

Ex "Expert"
Feb 25, 2009
3,923
63
In practice I often say, "Go to where the ball takes you." So, when you do infield, outfield with runners doing simulations, stop your practice and ask all of the fielders, "where did the ball take you." I guess what I am saying is that on certain balls, depending upon location and "exit speed" off the bat, you could have different coverages of that bag.
 
Apr 28, 2019
835
43
When ball is hit to the first baseman, does anyone have their pitcher cover first base? In baseball, it's the pitcher but in softball it seems like it's usually the 2nd baseman.

We are a competitive rec team (about half the team has played/plays select) but I like to play all the girls at least an inning in the infield. Usually weaker players are at 2nd base. The issue we were having was last game with a runner on first, our 2nd baseman was a little late covering 2nd base when it was hit to shortstop. And when the ball was hit to first base, they were late covering first base. Feel like it would be easier if our 2nd baseman could just shade toward 2nd base so she is ready to cover the bag and not worry about first base.

Also, on bunts, does anyone have the 1st baseman stay home and have the pitcher cover the first base side?
2B generally covers 1st when you have 1B crash in on a bunt situation or when 1B moves in to field a slow ground ball or pop-up with runner on 1st.
Really depends where the ball is hit as far as where the pitcher can step in and cover 1st.
If a ball is hit down the 1B line and 1B has to dive/leave feet pitcher can cover especially with runners on base and 2B covering 2B.
Ground ball between 1st & 2nd where both players move towards the ball P should cover 1st.
It’s something I would discuss with infield and practice so they all know their roles in certain situations.
P is not always in ideal position to field the ball. Depending on her follow through and finish with pitches. But yes you could have 1st stay back and have P or C field the bunt depending on where the bunt is placed.
Keep it as simple as possible. Not always easy with all the different situations that could arise.
You could give a blanket statement where 1st is always going to stay back and 3rd, P, & C will field bunts. That will probably be easiest way but there will be plays where it would have been advantageous to have 1st move in. If you can live with runners reaching 1st on occasion may be the way to go.
 
May 6, 2015
1,131
63
Teach the 2B to follow the ball. If it's hit to the left side they cover second if it's hit to the right side and not to them they cover first. In little league baseball it's often 2B that covers on a slow roller to first.

A lot has to do with distance

I baseball it's easier for the P to cover because they have a 30 foot advantage over the hitter (90 foot bases versus approx 60 feet). In softball it's more like 17 feet 60 versus 43 so it's much harder for P to cover although at higher levels you see them do it more.

On the subject I see so many teams try and hide a weak player at 2B. You don't need a rocket arm, but someone who is fast and smart makes such a difference over there.
this goes for both MI, they should both move towards the ball. ball hit to right side of 2nd base, SS is moving towards right side to cover the bag, 2B is moving towards ball to field, and if between 2B and first baseline, to potentially backup 1B or cover first. but always moving towards the path of the ball.

also, the increased basepatchs in BB mean the 2B has further to travel to get to 1B to cover as well. and with a runner on, 1B is probably pretty close to the bag, holding the runner, so if they field it, not very far to go.
 
Oct 2, 2011
3,322
113
Florida
When ball is hit to the first baseman, does anyone have their pitcher cover first base? In baseball, it's the pitcher but in softball it seems like it's usually the 2nd baseman.
Pitcher NEVER covers 1st in softball. It is too far. Average speed runners will get there before the P does every time. 60' bases will do that.

We are a competitive rec team (about half the team has played/plays select) Usually weaker players are at 2nd base
This is a major mistake. You MUST make all the easy plays from 2nd base in rec and young travel. You don't and that is what leads to big innings. And 2B has a lot of responsibilities in softball as you have stated....

When the SS or 3B airmails the throw over 1B in rec everyone barely says a word - but you can't have that from 2nd. I normally value the position over SS and 3B in younger teams and rec and if you have a reasonably fast pitcher. In rec I often hide my weaker players at 3B or SS because my Pitcher is generally an athlete and can cover a lot of shortcomings.

..the issue...
Well yeah - you have one of your weaker players playing one of the positions that requires the most softball sense and game experience.

Also, on bunts, does anyone have the 1st baseman stay home and have the pitcher cover the first base side?
Yes, if I have an athlete at pitcher or my 1B is slow or can't field or throw well, yes, and we often move 2B up to help cover on an obvious bunt. But that is on who the 1B and P are - not on 2B capabilities.
 
Aug 20, 2018
3
1
Thanks, everyone for their comments. Will continue to work with our 2nd basemen.. Biggest challenge is getting them to think about what they need to do before each pitch. Every time the ball is hit, there's a split second delay as they process things. That's why they are slow to the bag. Happens even if I remind them right before the pitch to cover a bag. But again, it's rec, so they're learning.
 

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