Welcome to Discuss Fastpitch

Your FREE Account is waiting to the Best Softball Community on the Web.

Register Log in

Runner on 1st and 3rd strategy

Jul 13, 2014
So, either runner on 1st (attempting to steal on pitch) and 3rd, or runner on 3rd and batter walks (and continues on to second); where should defense throw the ball? My take; throw the ball directly to pitcher, forcing runners to commit (12U, chance of throwing runner at second out low). Throwing to second to bait runner on third to run home results in runner safe at second, runner at third either retreating back safely or low probability of throwing out at third (if throw is to 2nd base - remember, this is 12U....). If ball is thrown to pitcher, maybe better chance of runner on third out due to hesitation? At the very least, you shorten the throw to second. What are your thoughts on how to approach this situation?
Oct 11, 2010
Chicago, IL
I think you have a couple plays.

Throwing to P is fine, perfer to throw to 3rd if you are giving up 2nd.

If you have a good chance of getting runner going to 2nd, take the out and see what happens. Lot of times runner is frozen 3rd.
Mar 4, 2018
How many outs?

With two outs and a runner on third, and the batter walks and tries to take 2nd base before the pitch I will go for that runner every time. It should only take one throw if the girls get the timing of the play down.


Allergic to BS
Nov 14, 2014
Get the ball back to the pitcher quickly, and the pitcher then checks the runner on 3B. This forces the runner leading off 3B to make a decision, and she'll likely retreat back to the bag. The pitcher should hold the ball in her glove in a high "ready to throw" position, but don't make any fakes. If the pitcher doesn't attempt a play, or make a fake throw, the runner on 3B can't leave the bag again without being called out (assuming blue is paying attention).

3-4 seconds has now passed, and if the batter-runner rounds 1B, the 1B calls it, and pitcher locks in on that runner, but does not make any move to throw unless the runner gets at least half-way to 2B. The runner may jog to draw out this process. Don't throw to 2B unless there is a reasonably good chance of immediately getting an out, because with less than two outs, you will likely give up a run. DON'T throw the ball too early, or you'll be chasing that runner back and forth. If the throw is quick, on target, and on time, the tag can be made at 2B and then the ball can immediately be sent Home. Make sure that whoever is covering 2B isn't obstructing the runner.

The catcher should be watching the runner on 3B immediately after returning the ball, and call for the throw if the runner on 3B breaks for Home instead of returning to the bag. If the pitcher throws to 2B, the pitcher can then move towards 3B to back up in case of a pickle play.

It's a complex play that requires discipline that can only be gained through live-ball practice.
Jul 24, 2013
In the original post, it says this situation in for 12U. A lot of 12U teams let runners steal 2nd without a throw when there is a runner on third. If this is the case, why come up with all sorts of different defenses on a walk with a runner on third if you are just going to let them take 2nd on the next pitch anyway.
Jun 11, 2013
In the original post, it says this situation in for 12U. A lot of 12U teams let runners steal 2nd without a throw when there is a runner on third. If this is the case, why come up with all sorts of different defenses on a walk with a runner on third if you are just going to let them take 2nd on the next pitch anyway.
Because if you are going to try and steal a base when I have the ball 40 feet away with my best player(12U Pitcher) and all I have to do if throw to my second best player (SS) I'm going to take that out every single time. Even if I was going to allow it on the 1st pitch it allows for the possibility of the batter swinging at that pitch and maybe getting a Cheap DP on a soft liner or even on a hit only scores 1 versus 2.

The play I really like is where teams take the 2B and have them in about 10 feet. They can see the kids on 3rd and decide to cut or let it go to SS covering. It only works if you have really good middle IF players which a lot of 12U A teams have.
Mar 28, 2016
Get the ball back to the pitcher as fast as you can.
If your pitcher is a good fielder then she should wait until the runner is close to halfway to 2nd and then start to chase her (forcing her to a bag - preferable first).
The 3rd baseman has to be the one watching the runner on 3rd and needs to be loud if the runner breaks for home.
The pitcher should chase the runner back to the bag and only throw when the runner has committed - a quick throw will get her most times and it is only a 10ft-15ft throw.
If the 3rd baseman yells, then the pitcher needs to divert and go home (or chase the runner going home if she is still not committed).
This might be a little above their age, but I find chasing, and not throwing, works best. If you throw to early and the runner can turn around, then the runner on 3rd will score most times.
Jun 22, 2008
Don't chase any runners anywhere. Use the pitcher in the circle and the lookback rule to your advantage. Get the ball back to the pitcher and move to the back of the circle. When the batter/runner touches first base the lookback rule goes into effect and the runner at 3rd must immediately either return to 3rd or advance home. Do not raise the glove and act like you are making a play, that turns the lookback rule off. If the runner at 3rd attempts to go home you play on that runner. If the runner at 3rd returns to the base then you focus your attention on the runner going to 2nd. It should be easy enough to get the out there and still have time to also get the runner at home if they try to advance. Trying to take 2nd on a walk usually stops by decent 14's because it will end up in 2 outs if the team knows how to defend it.
Nov 19, 2018
Depends on if this is a Rec Game, Friendly or Tournament? If it's during a Rec Ball Game or friendly, we're throwing the ball somewhere, we're getting into a pickle or trying to make a play. I personally don't coach Rec Ball, Fall Ball or friendly's to win games. I coach them to make the kids better, to put them into situations they need work at, and to get them out of their comfort zone. During tournament play, we play to win.

But the 2 things that I like to do, and both were said is in most cases get the ball back to the pitcher as soon as the 4th ball is called, where the pitcher catches the ball at the back of the circle. Or, the catcher makes a quick throw right to 3B.

If the runner on 3rd is taking big leads & being aggressive you can get her into a pickle, or on a quick tag if she's off the base and she doesn't think anyone is going to throw to her. You do this right after the 4th ball is called, like a catcher would get rid of the ball on a steal from 1st to second, so this would be a sign I would work out with the catcher and 3B ahead of time and give them when I'm calling pitches and the count gets to 3-X. So they know if there is a 4th ball, you're going to rocket that ball to 3rd. 3b is going to start a little short of the bag and be ready to either let the ball travel back to the bag, catch and tag, or shorten the throw and get the runner into a pickle.

The play to second, if the throw goers back to the pitcher at the back of the circle, and the runner hits 1st base and continues, is not to 2b, but to the 2nd baseman standing about 1/3 of the way from 1st to 2nd. The pitcher checks the runner at third, and the 2nd baseman gets into position just behind a curved the base path, one third of the way to second base, so when the runner rounds second, the pitcher delivers a quick and short throw to the 2B player who tags the runner, (or gets them into a pickle), and then immediately run to the plate to dissuade the runner on third or make a throw and get her out too. If the second basemen doesn't get the tag down and the runner at third goes home, then there is a throw to home. This is a great thing to try as much as possible because it forces players to read the play as it develops and it makes them think. The more they think for themselves and don't just listen to what the coaches tell them to do, makes them better players.

Both of these take practice and mental work along with signals to remind them what you're doing. I think it's totally good for 12u. My daughter got a few kids out as a picther running to 2nd after a walk doing this in 10u. We'd try this with 2 outs every time. It didn't always works and it won't always work. But I would force players to try this every Rec Ball game, Fall Ball game, Friendly or opportunity to get them to execute this.
Last edited:

Forum statistics

Latest member