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Outfield - Where to throw the ball

Dec 10, 2015
Chautauqua County
Well this is really bad baseball but what we do in our REC team is have the 6th grade shortstop race out to the outfield where the ball is hit to get a throw from the (generally) 5th grade outfielder. Even if its hit to right field. Actually especially if its hit to right field.

At this point the 6th grade shortstop knows what to do because she is a 6th grade shortstop and she can do it because she has a good 6th grade short stop arm. Meanwhile all the other infielders are now covering their bases waiting for a play.

I guess I could fib and say it teaches the outfielders where to throw the ball because now they watch where the 6th grade shortstop throws it, but actually it is just a an extremely expedient way of making a great play from the outfield in a REC league. I can't tell you how many kids we have thrown out at the plate since we invented this and gave up on trying to teach all the tennis players, soccer players and dancers on the team how to either be the cutoff girl or hit the cutoff girl.

I am so ashamed.
;) yep, been at places like that.
As first-year 12's, DD's team still plays the best arms at 3rd/SS/2nd. On ball hit to the outfield, the shortstop (best arm on the team) typically runs to the edge of the grass to take a throw from LF or CF while 2B covers the bag. On hits to RF, 2nd goes out for the throw while SS covers 2nd. Not quite what HornetsCoach describes, but similar.

The player with the ball (SS or 2B), then turns and can make the call about whether to try and throw ahead of a runner or to jog the ball back to the infield and get it to the pitcher. Often, if there is a chance that a throw can be made on an advancing runner, it's the pitcher who calls out the base. Why not the catcher? Just because the pitcher is closer and easier for the cut to hear.

So to answer the original question, have your middle infielders get into the habit of 'following' a ball that is hit over their head. They need to know that the throw is coming to them, and 2B needs to know that she's covering her base on a hit to LF or CF. Once the hitters are dropping bombs over OFs heads and the arms out there are good enough to hit a base from 100' feet away, this might not be necessary. But at 12U, it's pretty effective.
Feb 14, 2014
First off there is a difference between a relay and a cutoff. A relay is used when a ball is hit back to the fence, usually the 2B or SS. You can never miss a relay high. As the relay person you need to catch or stop all throws or really bad things happen.

Cutoffs on the other hand aren't the real targets. You are trying to throw to that base so that's the target. You merely want to keep it low enough so they can catch it about the shoulders.
Ding Ding Ding. It’s as simple as that. Know where you are throwing before the pitch. Then throw to the base. Keeping the ball low.
Sep 26, 2011
Debate from today’s 14u bracket game. Top of the 7th. Home team in the field leading 3-0 Bases loaded no outs. Hard hit ball to RF fielded cleanly.

Where’s the throw?

1: Try for the out at 1st or 2nd possibly allowing R2 to score from second?Runners now on a 1st and 3rd. 1 out.

2: Throw home to catcher to keep R2 from scoring? No outs bases remain loaded.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
May 29, 2015
Trade the run for the out, preferably at second.

Runner on third doesn’t matter.

EDIT: I misread that ... you are preventing the second run from scoring. I’m always a fan of take the out, but I don’t think I like it at the expense of two runs and the tying run on third with just one out. I’m going with the prevent defense.
Jun 6, 2016
EDIT: I misread that ... you are preventing the second run from scoring. I’m always a fan of take the out, but I don’t think I like it at the expense of two runs and the tying run on third with just one out. I’m going with the prevent defense.
I don't look at it as giving up two runs for an out. The first run is scoring no matter what. So the real question is if the score is 3-1 (since the play started at 3-0) in the 7th, do you give up a run to get an out.

If you can maybe get the out at second, yes. Of course. That run doesn't matter and you keep the tying run from scoring position/keep the double play (or at least a force out at second) in play. It's worth the risk to try for that out and maybe give up the 2nd run since the runner you're trying to get out matters more.

If the out is at first, you have to be 100% sure you have the out because you're allowing the tying run into scoring position and you still only have 1 out. That said, the issue is still not whether that second run scores. It's all about where the tying run ends up.

Assuming we have players who can make basic plays, throwing home or at least a hard throw to the cutoff to keep bases loaded isn't the best play unless you really don't have a shot at either runner.
Jun 4, 2019
If you aren't going home to prevent the runner on 2B scoring - you better be 90% sure you're getting that out at 1st or 2nd. And it better be at 2nd (which is a tough out if you have a decent base runner at 1B. If you don't go home, you're about to be up 3-2 with 1 out and the tying run on 1st or 2nd? Not a trade I'd make. I'd rather load the bases down 3-1 and play for a force at home or DP. You got yourself into this situation, have to find a way to get out it.

Up 3 with bases loaded an 0 outs isn't really a good time to go into trading runs for outs. Unless your pitcher is throwing K's (and she just loaded the bases) or you have weak hitters coming up.

Just my opinion.

I haven't gone back and read all the posts, but as far as the proper play on balls hit to the OF, you have to give your girls play sheets and get them to know them in and out. We use standard baseball cut & relays (and yes they are different) and while they aren't always perfect, they seem to work. But it does take a deep understand of the game that not all young players possess.

A proper relay always has a trailer (you want your relays throws high and the trailer can handle it if overthrown to the primary relay). If a cut misses, then the throw will continue to it's destination regardless.

We also will send out SS (best arm) to handle all relays to 3B (ball hit to the fence - or to the OF with a runner on 1B).

One way to think about the difference is a relay is a person that helps the OF get the throw where it needs to go. A cut is a person that is there to stop the madness - make a cut and end the play.

I will say that with the smaller field, a trailing relay isn't really necessary, and it takes a girl off a base somewhere which you may not want to do. There is always a girl somewhere nearby should a bad throw be made. If you can get them to understand the basics, that's a start.
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