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Bunt Defense Scenario - What do we do???

Dec 12, 2008
Albany NY
12U - less than 2 out - runner on first - batter bunts - where does SS go.
My question really revolves around the SS in this scenario. If the runner steals on the pitch as the batter squares to bunt, my SS has to cover second for the steal, my 2B has to cover 1st for the bunt, and 1B and 3B have to crash to field the bunt. Now third is left open and the lead runner can continue to third after the out is made at first. I doubt my C, 3b or P can get to third in time to take the throw, and I don't want LF in there because I lose my backup.

This is much easier if the runner is not going on the pitch because I'd just have SS go to third base...but if the runner goes, what do we do???
Jun 16, 2008
You can't justify leaving 2nd open. That's your first look for the force of the lead runner.
Usual coverage is for SS to cover 2nd. 3B or P will cover 3rd depending on who is involved with the play. I've seen runners take 2 bases on a bunt, but it has always been because 3B and P were watching the play instead of covering the base as they should. Teach your 3B or P to cover and practice it faithfully.
It would take an extraordinarily fast runner and an extraordinarly slow pitcher and a really inattentive infield for me to be concerned that I couldn't get anyone to 3rd.
If your corners are playing up in their usual spots, the runner doesn't get that much of an advantage. Your fielders should also be able to eventually read the bat angle to determine the likely direction of the bunt. On contact, everyone should know very quickly who has the best chance to make the play and they should be talking to each other so there's no time wasted charging a ball that someone else will get quicker.
Assuming the bunt, you are suggesting having your SS cover 2nd only if the runner is stealing. Here's the problem. The hitter shows the bunt. Your corners crash, but the hitter doesn't make contact for whatever reason. Now you have 2nd open. Your 2B is moving to 1st and your SS is moving to 3rd. Who's on 2nd? The base runner who may not have been on an outright steal but was closer to the base than either of your defenders. A good team will realize your tendency to leave 2nd open. You will give up bases without your defense ever touching the ball or the hitter being put at risk. That's not a sound tendency.
If you're still genuinely concerned, then roll your 2B to 2nd and don't crash your 1B. If you have a quick C and 3B, or your 1B has a great glove, but is not particularly guick, then this is a viable option. If your SS absolutely has to cover 3rd regardless, and 1B crashes, then you have to bring your CF to cover 2nd. Then you have no backup if the throw to 2nd is bad. You've also introduced another problem. What if the other team has seen this and the hitter is good enough to pull the bunt back and slap or punch the ball to the point where the CF should have been?
You're introducing problems that are potentially much worse than giving up 3rd because your 3B and P aren't getting over to cover.
Dec 28, 2008
my SS has to cover second for the steal, my 2B has to cover 1st for the bunt, and 1B and 3B have to crash to field the bunt.
Your SS and 2B ALWAYS have to cover their POSITION first until the ball is put into play. As SS33 incidates, if it becomes obvious your girls will leave their fielding position, before the ball is put into play then they will start slapping it against you. (Assuming they know how.) If I charged for lessons, I could say that I make my living teaching girls how to slap both right and left handed and just poke the ball into the holes left by girls that don't cover their positions.

I agree with SS33 in that PITCHER has to cover 3 if she isn't in on the bunt, there is more than enough time for her to get to third base if she doesn't field the ball, or 3B has to retreat if she doesn't get it. In 12U if your outfield isn't that deep I've also seen left field run up and cover third.

Another variation I've seen at times is that the catcher goes to cover third. They are already running in that direction anyway going after the ball so if the 3B picks it up instead of them, then they just continue the remaining distance and 3B then covers at home after making their throw to 1 or 2.

Gotta love the short game because of the pressure it puts on the defense.
Dec 12, 2008
Albany NY
Druer - how about that slap hitting - what's the best way to teach it to righthanders. I have some quick girls on the team but only one lefthander - and she is not in the top half as far as quickness...
May 7, 2008
Morris County, NJ
Bunt Defense

DD and I attended a College Showcase in the Fall (just to watch the level of play as she only 12 U and the event is local).

I saw one team bring in their LF to cover 3rd on the bunt, crashing P, 1st and 3rd baseman, with SS covering 2nd and 2nd covering 1st.

Another team had 3rd and 2nd crash (2nd was at the pitching circle), with SS covering 2nd & 1B staying home for the throw...catcher went to 3rd.

A third team had 1st, 3rd & P crach the bunt, SS over to 3rd, 2nd cover 1st and the CF cover 2nd......SS covered on the steal attempt.

Every option seemed to work as these girls had practiced this over ad over.
Jan 12, 2009
I agree...SS always takes the lead runner. Makes sure you practice this in situations during practice. Because if you only tell them they still won't cover and just watch the play.
Aug 2, 2008
SS takes the lead runner on a bunt, that sounds logical, so with runners on first and second does cf cover second or just leave it open? We are 10-U this year so we will probably be going with the easy out at first if the runners are getting good jumps, but I want them to learn proper coverage for later years. On a fake bunt should 1B and 3B stop crashing and get out of bounds, or try to get back to there positions?


Ken Krause

May 7, 2008
Mundelein, IL
Generally speaking we also have SS cover second, 2B cover first. The third baseman goes back to cover third if she doesn't field the bunt, or the catcher continues to third if she does.

Another option is to run a 1-back defense. In that case, first baseman stays at first, second baseman covers second, SS covers third. Pitcher has to cover both her normal spot and up the first base line. So then it depends on how mobile the pitcher is, and how well she fields and throws. Just another option.

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