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Where do you Stand?

The second base man lines up deeper than any other infielder. The throw to first is short and the second baseman backs up second on attempted steals of second. Also, since the first baseman is rather deep, they need to be even deeper to prevent collisions with the first baseman on ground balls between them.

When you have reason to believe that the ball will be hit down the line toward right, the second baseman is moved toward the first base line. When the ball is expected to be hit down the left field line, the second baseman is moved toward second base. Note that as they move toward second they move closer to the plate at the same time because they are making the throw to first longer. In a bunting situation, The second baseman should move in 3-4 steps because if the ball gets past the pitcher on a bunt to the right side, it is up to the second baseman to make the play.

When the runner at third must not be allowed to score, the second baseman plays only a little deeper than the pitcher. That is 3-4 steps inside the baseline between first and second. Since the time it takes to field the ball, throw to the catcher, and for them to make the tag is so long, the second baseman must play very close to have a chance.


The second baseman has priority over all the other infielders except the shortstop on popups. The second baseman covers first on ground balls to their left if they cannot get the ball. The second baseman backups up first on throws to pick a runner off first. The second baseman backs up second when a runner at first tries to steal second. The second baseman yells a warning when the runner at first attempts to steal second. The runner is behind the first baseman and out of the field of view of the other infielders. The catcher is focusing on the ball. The second baseman needs to be good at catching popups into right field, catching the ball while running away from the infield. The second baseman covers second on all balls hit to their right unless they can get the ball.

In the normal course of events moving toward the ball will take the second baseman toward the place they should go.

The second baseman is the cutoff man on balls hit to right and center. They should not go out further than the edge of the grass on balls in right field and no more than 2-3 steps into the grass on balls in center field. The cutoff man should be about two thirds of the way from the outfielder to the base they are throwing to. If the throw is offline they should catch the throw. If the throw is online they should let it go. On balls that the outfielder does not have to back up to get they should be yelling which base to throw to. On balls that are near the fence which must be thrown to third, the second baseman should be on the infield dirt. As the throw comes toward them they need to set their feet for the throw to third if they have time.

Double Plays

The classic ground ball double play is very rare in 11-12 year old baseball but the infielders enjoy doing it so much that you should include it in your practices. If the second baseman is the one who fields the ground ball then they throw to second to force out the runner from first. The throw should be to the shortstop’s throwing shoulder. If the second baseman is moving toward second when the grounder is caught the throw to second should be made underhanded from the point the ball is caught. In either case the speed of execution required by the double play puts a premium on catching the ball with both hands.

If the shortstop or third baseman catches the ground ball, the second baseman should get to second base as quickly as possible. The best position to catch the ball is on the third base side of second because that is where the ball may be caught the soonest. The feet should be near the corners of the base. If the throw is good, the second baseman can merely step toward first with the left foot to make the throw. If the play will be close at second the second baseman should tag the base with the left foot while stepping toward the ball with the right foot. In this way, the stride toward first on the throw will take the second baseman away from the bag and the sliding runner. Since the front foot (in this case the right foot) will be under the second baseman’s center of gravity. This makes the throw and easy one. If the left foot is moved toward the ball while the right foot tags the base, both feet have to be moved for a strong throw to first. Most right handed players will want to step with the left foot toward the ball. You will need to watch this tendency.


Because the second baseman plays so deep, they must move aggressively toward any ground ball. Playing deep allows them to get to ground balls they could not reach playing closer to the plate but it means that they must charge any slowly hit ground ball. If the ball is going slowly when they get to it they should field it with the bare hand (like a third baseman fielding a bunt) using the glove as a wall to push the ball against to assure a good grip. The throw then should be made without straightening up.

On ground balls toward center field the second baseman should set their feet for a strong throw rather than throwing without setting their feet. This reduces the chance of a wild throw and the stronger throw will more than make up for the time spent in setting the feet.

The second baseman will often have a lot of time to make the throw to first. On those occasions, they must resist the tendency to make a “soft” throw to first. A slowly thrown ball is harder for the first baseman to catch than one thrown with medium speed. Therefore the throw should be a “firm” throw. The word “firm” captures the essence of the proper throw. It is not a hard throw and not a soft throw.

When there is a runner at first who is not stealing, (usually when there is a runner at second also) the second baseman should make the play at whichever base they are going toward when they catch the grounder. Since most runners at first will steal second unless there is already a runner there, you will need to remind the second baseman that if going toward second when catching the ground ball to make the play there.

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