Should you ever contest a steal of 2nd w/ runner at 3rd?

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pattar

I wasted time and now doth time waste me
Jun 8, 2016
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I'd say the success rate is similar but a little less compared to regular steals due to the catcher having to check the runner at 3B, probably 60-70 percent??
I never caught so this an honest question. If the call is to throw through or they have a play on, are they taught to check the runner still?
 
Jun 6, 2016
1,894
113
Chicago
I don’t know how often catchers have thrown down with runners 1st/3rd because WCWS scorers apparently never rule for defensive indifference. Everything is either SB or CS.

Important to note that this is, by rule, not Defensive Indifference. The scoring rules specifically state that allowing a runner to steal second unchallenged to prevent a runner on third from scoring is a strategic defensive decision so the scorer is supposed to award a stolen base and not score it defensive indifference.

DI has very specific, limited usage, and it's not to be used any time a scorer just feels the defense could've done something.

To address the question: I rarely have catchers with good enough arms to reliably throw runners out. And that's too bad, because I hate giving away that base. My teams rarely play 3-2 type games. In many situations, that runner on third has a decent chance of scoring anyway. So I have, when I think the catcher might actually make the throw, told the catcher to just throw the runner out (helps if I know the runner is super slow). The runners so often just assume there won't be a throw that they're not running full speed anyway.

Edit: Surprised you don't remember the Nickels play since it resulted in Lisa Fernandez getting a two-game suspension for bumping an umpire. It also is supposedly the reason the obstruction rule was changed.

 
Last edited:
Dec 11, 2010
4,106
113
What a play.

Then...

“Yer outta here”

“I’m outta here?”

”Wait, maybe I’m outta here…” lol
 

RADcatcher

Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
5,834
113
California
Another thing I've noticed in WCWS stats is how successful that the teams are at stealing bases during the regular season but not during the WCWS. They're not as aggressive at stealing and not as successful in general in the WCWS. Just shows that top-10 teams defend the steal far better than some of the mediocre to crappy teams they play in regular season. IOW, they have outstanding catchers.
What I notice with my student catchers over the years very similar to my experience, it is with effective efficient accurate catching pop times
that teams stop trying to steal.
Even in 12u coaches will stop having their Runners try to advance.

For me,
this influences how important it is for catchers and defense to do back pics.
(Throwing behind the runner as they are returning to the same base they started.)
Shortening up a runner's leadoff and creating there need to be hesitant or stay close can also be very helpful in getting an out when the play comes at the next base.
So I teach catchers to have the confidence to do back pics even in a first-and-third situation...
Every runner on the field represents an opportunity for an out.

This conversation also brings up the advent of speed in combination with how the field dimensions create the opportunity for this conversation of strategy.
No speed on 3rd definitely helps in a decision to throw to second.

Yes defense be on the attack!
The offense is trying to score on you!
 
Last edited:
Jul 19, 2021
360
63
DD's team will always throw the ball in 1st and 3rd situations on a steal.. There's a lot to unpack in this situation, mistakes happen, but giving away bases uncontested is no good. I'd say the success rate is similar but a little less compared to regular steals due to the catcher having to check the runner at 3B, probably 60-70 percent?? I find that the runner at 3B almost never tries to advance.

Stealing in 1st and 3rd isn't as common as it used to be now that DD is playing in 18's.
Just so I'm clear, in a runner on 1st and 3rd situation and an attempt to steal 2nd, your catcher will check the runner at 3rd before throwing down to 2nd? I think that would make it basically impossible to get the runner out at 2nd base unless she is hauling a trailer but you think they still throw them out 30-40% of the time?
 
Mar 4, 2015
451
63
New England
Important to note that this is, by rule, not Defensive Indifference. The scoring rules specifically state that allowing a runner to steal second unchallenged to prevent a runner on third from scoring is a strategic defensive decision so the scorer is supposed to award a stolen base and not score it defensive indifference.

DI has very specific, limited usage, and it's not to be used any time a scorer just feels the defense could've done something.

To address the question: I rarely have catchers with good enough arms to reliably throw runners out. And that's too bad, because I hate giving away that base. My teams rarely play 3-2 type games. In many situations, that runner on third has a decent chance of scoring anyway. So I have, when I think the catcher might actually make the throw, told the catcher to just throw the runner out (helps if I know the runner is super slow). The runners so often just assume there won't be a throw that they're not running full speed anyway.

Edit: Surprised you don't remember the Nickels play since it resulted in Lisa Fernandez getting a two-game suspension for bumping an umpire. It also is supposedly the reason the obstruction rule was changed.


Thanks for finding that! Apparently I wasn't watching that particular game that year or would've recalled it.
 

RADcatcher

Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
5,834
113
California
@erniekru as a good point.
Often the runner at third does not try to advance.
Perhaps because defense can throw 2nd but option not to follow through with the play at second base that is cause and effect on runners from 3rd not opting to advance very much

As to catchers glancing at the runner on third and still firing to second,
or any base
yes that happens.

Especially with two outs is a good time to pluck a runner.
Runners on first and third and catcher does a back pick to first base,
yes we are trying to be as aware as possible of the body language, posture and movement of the runner on 3rd when throwing anywhere.
_____________________
'Glance and Gun it'
Happens instantaneously after receiving the pitch and can be done while mechanics are going into throwing already.
Because we are already presuming a runner will take action we have to already go into our mechanic even if we aren't going to finish the release.
______________________
 
Last edited:
May 7, 2015
653
93
SoCal
OU typically puts on some sort of play

I never caught so this an honest question. If the call is to throw through or they have a play on, are they taught to check the runner still?

Yes, the default play is to throw to 2B, however the catcher has to check in with runner at 3B to ensure that they aren't too far off the bag, planning to steal home. If they are too far off, it's a back pick 3B.
 
May 7, 2015
653
93
SoCal
Just so I'm clear, in a runner on 1st and 3rd situation and an attempt to steal 2nd, your catcher will check the runner at 3rd before throwing down to 2nd? I think that would make it basically impossible to get the runner out at 2nd base unless she is hauling a trailer but you think they still throw them out 30-40% of the time?

Essentially yes.. It is not a pause and direct look at the runner.. It is more of a checking in with peripheral vision during the throwing motion to ensure the runner is not at a full stride indicating steal or being too far off the bag. If she's not running, there's enough time to throw to 2B and back home for the out.

If the runner is either stealing on the throw or trying to get cheeky with too long of a secondary lead, it's a back pick 3B. As I indicated before, lots to unpack but a situation that is practiced live nearly every single practice.
 
Jul 19, 2021
360
63
Essentially yes.. It is not a pause and direct look at the runner.. It is more of a checking in with peripheral vision during the throwing motion to ensure the runner is not at a full stride indicating steal or being too far off the bag. If she's not running, there's enough time to throw to 2B and back home for the out.

If the runner is either stealing on the throw or trying to get cheeky with too long of a secondary lead, it's a back pick 3B. As I indicated before, lots to unpack but a situation that is practiced live nearly every single practice.
How often do you see the runner on 3rd try to get an early start on a steal of home with the throw down? I don't see it often (but honestly I'm not paying that much attention to it so it could be more often that I think) which makes the case for throwing down to 2nd even better. If the runner on 3rd isn't going to steal home, why not throw down to 2nd? Now I'm talking older girls and upper levels here, but the number of overthrows or balls that get by the fielder into CF are few and far between so I would think analytics would say it is good to throw down to 2nd base if the runner on 3rd isn't going to try to steal home.
 

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