Runner on Second Gets Huge Lead

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Jun 6, 2016
2,724
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Chicago
Looking for some thoughts on ways to limit the size of a runner's lead at second base. We play a few teams where runners will get that halfway lead. Sometimes it leads to a delayed steal. Mostly, if a runner is 40 feet off the base, I want to get her out.

My catchers have a tendency to want to chase, a habit I'm working to break, especially because they have decent arms.

With nobody on third, I'm thinking one way to play it is for the catcher to fire the ball to F5, then let her either start a run down or just look/chase the runner back to second. This one isn't all that complicated, but I'm open to other ideas if they exist.

The tricky one is with runners on 2nd and 3rd. What are some different ways you might try to get that runner on second out without automatically conceding the run?
 
May 13, 2023
1,538
113
Looking for some thoughts on ways to limit the size of a runner's lead at second base. We play a few teams where runners will get that halfway lead. Sometimes it leads to a delayed steal. Mostly, if a runner is 40 feet off the base, I want to get her out.

My catchers have a tendency to want to chase, a habit I'm working to break, especially because they have decent arms.
Breaking that habit is definitely a real thing to getting to the next level.

Setting a time frame for the catcher is really important and is an executive thinking mental decision!
Seeing the runner and either firing directly back to the pitcher
or a back pic (to 2nd)or to Third Base.

Set the standard that the catcher needs to react within the same quick decision/ reaction moment firing to one of those locations.

Many times the only reason Runners are taking that giant lead off is because of the non-attack catcher standing chasing with the ball that is actually not scary and runner's know it.

Having a catcher that is on the attack from the very beginning of the game. By firing back to the pitcher (even without Runners on base) sets a better tone of an aggressive defense.

Things to help the catcher identify where to throw the ball. ⬇️

Can work at practice catcher recognizing the distance the runner is off the bag. when the catcher comes up to fire they can look to see if the balance of the runner's body is going back towards second and they can throw threw/by the pitcher hard enough that it could go straight through to second if need be.

Make sure all defensive players are in athletic positions sprinting and ready to receive the ball directly after the batter does nothing. Critical visual importance for the catcher. Then the catcher needs to learn to be able to throw it when they aren't there yet. Support the catcher knowing she still needs to throw while the defense is learning to get there.

Additional thing that helps is when the catcher fires immediately back to the pitcher the pitcher should be aware **with her defense talking to her about the runner to be able to throw to Third and get the out should the runner be doing a delay steal.
* ball being back in the circle (as we know) forces the runner to do one thing or the other.

* Need to work the defense communicating to each other and keep the pace of Defense sharp and on the attack.
 
Last edited:
May 7, 2015
842
93
SoCal
You've got to get the catchers getting the ball back to the pitcher quick.

No one delay steals on the first pitch, they pick up on catcher weakness. Here is the progression that I like to see.

1- quick back to pitcher
2- still getting off too much, same throwing motion as quick to pitcher but back pick. 2nd needs to cover the bag in case runner goes to 3B
3- once you've back picked once or more, if runner is still stretching their leads, you know a delayed steal is coming. Have catcher exagerate a back pick to 2B but pump fake.

Keep aggressive base running teams on their toes by repeating this process. If they are not advancing, forget about them and focus on the pitching.
 
Jun 8, 2016
16,118
113
With 2nd and 3rd, if the runner at 3rd means something, just let it alone and let the kid on second look like an idiot (where is she going??) Otherwise you can probably just do what you proposed for a runner on 2B only.
 
Jun 8, 2016
16,118
113
2- still getting off too much, same throwing motion as quick to pitcher but back pick. 2nd needs to cover the bag in case runner
If the kid is 30 ft off the bag a back pick isn't going to do anything but let the kid waltz into 3B unless the runner is Sean Casey and you have Johnny Bench as the catcher and Bill Mazeroski playing 2B..You don't take that kind of lead without the intention of going (eg delayed steal is the default there) if the other team tries to back pick..
 
Last edited:
May 7, 2015
842
93
SoCal
If the kid is 30 ft off the bag a back pick isn't going to do anything but let the kid waltz into 3B unless the runner is Sean Casey and you have Johnny Bench as the catcher and Bill Mazeroski playing 2B..
Can't get a 30' lead when you get the ball back to the pitcher quickly.
 
Jun 8, 2016
16,118
113
Can't get a 30' lead when you get the ball back to the pitcher quickly.
Probably true..I didn't disagree with #1. Only #2 if somehow the kid was able to still get that far out (hey Blue make sure she isn't leaving early..)
 
Jun 6, 2016
2,724
113
Chicago
You've got to get the catchers getting the ball back to the pitcher quick.

No one delay steals on the first pitch, they pick up on catcher weakness. Here is the progression that I like to see.

1- quick back to pitcher
2- still getting off too much, same throwing motion as quick to pitcher but back pick. 2nd needs to cover the bag in case runner goes to 3B
3- once you've back picked once or more, if runner is still stretching their leads, you know a delayed steal is coming. Have catcher exagerate a back pick to 2B but pump fake.

Keep aggressive base running teams on their toes by repeating this process. If they are not advancing, forget about them and focus on the pitching.

I don't think the back picks of second will work for us. Our team overall just isn't at the level to execute that type of play often enough to make me comfortable trying it.

I actually do like the idea of the back pick with the runner on third (either two outs or we don't care about that run). I think in that case, the offense is definitely not expecting it. I don't think the runner would react quickly enough in either direction.
 
Jun 8, 2016
16,118
113
I don't think the back picks of second will work for us. Our team overall just isn't at the level to execute that type of play often enough to make me comfortable trying it.

I actually do like the idea of the back pick with the runner on third (either two outs or we don't care about that run). I think in that case, the offense is definitely not expecting it. I don't think the runner would react quickly enough in either direction.
He's right though regarding if your catcher fires it back to the pitcher the kid probably won't be able to get that far out. The only problem with that is then you have the ball in the pitcher's hands to make a play and sometimes that isn't ideal..lol.
 

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