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  • Situations: When do you bring your infield in...

    Hi Coaches,

    I was curious to know what you do with your infield in certain situations. Mostly, when do you bring them in to get the quick grounder or move them back towards the grass or play the line?

    If there are 2 outs and a close game do you bring them in closer to get the quick grounder, leaving a gap between them and the outfield? Do you bring the outfield in too and concede that if it gets over their heads the game is lost?

    Do you move them back towards the grass with 1 out or 2, or what?

    Do you move them at all? What are some good situations where it is benficial to move your infield in or out, and do you do the same with the outfield?

    I know alot of it has to do with knowing the batters too (where they hit most often, are they power hitters or ground ball hitters, etc), but if you don't know the batters, what do you do?

  • #2
    Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post
    I know alot of it has to do with knowing the batters too (where they hit most often, are they power hitters or ground ball hitters, etc), but if you don't know the batters, what do you do?
    In my opinion, you can learn a lot by the first pitch to a batter. It also depends on how your pitcher is throwing. I'm assuming you have some 10's because of your example. I would focus on making sure you have everyone ready. I've seen coaches that point to someone only to have half the other players ease up.

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    • #3
      I'm sure there are tons of philosophies to this, but one I have heard a lot is that you "bring the infield in with less than two out and the tieing or go-ahead run on third base."
      The "infield in" is generally used to kill a [possible] rally or keep from losing a lead late in the game - or the game itself.

      Now of course there will be situations, especially early in the game, where getting an out is more important and therefore conceding the run is necessary (Example: Runner on 3B, 0 outs, 2nd inning. Why play the infield in and concede a bloop hit that might normally get caught or a groundball that might normally be fielded for an out and give up the run FOR FREE? In this instance, it is better to play back, normal depth, and atleast take an out for the run - which you should have time to get back). The importance of the out is that it keeps the pithcer "in the game" physically - and more importantly - mentally. As a pitcher, I can tolerate giving up a run if I know my team is getting me outs. It gets very hard, though, when you look up and see the score getting bigger and none of the "Out" lights are going on.


      As far as how to play your infield in "all" situations...
      With 0-0 count and 0 outs my corners are usually "up" (even with the bag). As a hitter aquires strikes, the probability of a bunt decreases, so my fielders deepen for each strike.
      The same is true for outs. As the number of outs increases, the likelihood of a bunt decreases, so with 2 outs - regardless of the count - I have them back. Now, I was told by an ex-minor leaguer, that the deepest a 3Bman should ever be is no more than 5 steps behind the bag (at the HS LEVEL; obviously the pros are deeper). That rule of thumb always worked fine for me - 1B is different, as he doesn't have much of a "throw" to make for an out.

      With the outfield, the only time you really would ever bring them in would be to cut down the winning run at the plate. You would bring them to a point where, on a sacrifice fly(runner @ 3B), they can make a "strong" throw home - with no cut - and have a chance at getting the runner. Unfortunately, unless you have a kid who has an ABSOLUTE CANNON for an arm (70+ mph LL, 87+ mph HS), and a very sharply hit groundball - basically a low linedrive thru the infield - he's pretty much going to walk home; so you can't really play for that situation.
      Now, if it's the tieing run (or something less), late in the game, you may choose to play them deeper as to "keep all balls in front." This just assures that no runner will score from 1B (on what normally may be a ball hit over someone's head) and you're atleast giving yourself a chance to throw out a runner trying to score from 2B.

      Hope that helps.
      Last edited by StraightGrain11; 04-24-2008, 11:12 PM.
      "Coaches should teach people to play better baseball, not teach baseball to make better players."
      "In the Little League manual it says 'Baseball builds character' - that is not true. Baseball reveals character." - Augie Garrido

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      • #4
        I find that coaches play their infield in WAY too often and WAY too early in the game. In youth baseball and even up to JV, unless you are facing a dominant pitcher, the expectation is that your team will probably score a run next inning. It is usually best to play for an out, any out, rather than risk a big inning trying to cut off a run at home. In most cases I won't play my infield in unless the winning run is on 3B with less than 2 out in the bottom of the last inning. There are exceptions, but this rule has served me well.

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        • #5
          Thanks guys, all great advice!

          I asked this because tonight we battle it out for first place. We are playing off of a suspended game from Tuesday. We ended up tied in the 5th inning and had to stop due to time limit (other teams played behind us). So we are finishing up the game tonight.

          The score right now is 5-5 and we are going into the 6th inning. We are up first. The other team is at the bottom of their lineup. Their last 4 batters start off for them (our 1 last batter is leading off for us).

          I am confident in our pitching, but just wondering if I should move my infield in or out depending on the players or situation. Bottom line is that if they score more than us in this inning then they win the game, and we fall to second place.

          From looking at our scorebook it shows that the last four batters (all right handers) either struck out, walked or was thrown out at first. I'm thinking of playing my 3rd and SS players in a bit (just a step or two) to get any slow rollers.

          The opposing coach is known for having his kids bunt, but not the bottom of the line up. This is usually left for the #1 or #2 batters. But I also know that he is a good coach and could try to mix it up a bit and try to catch us off guard.

          The kids really want to win this one for two reasons; 1) It will put them in first and guarauntee a spot in the playoffs (1st half winners play 2nd half winners in one playoff game. Winner goes on to TOCs). 2) They want to beat this particular team as this is the team that wins every year.

          They know that if we do not win this one, we still have the 2nd half season to make the playoffs, but they have said that they do not want to get to that point and just win the TOCs spot outright.

          FYI - This is LL 9-10y/o

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post
            Hi Coaches,

            I was curious to know what you do with your infield in certain situations. Mostly, when do you bring them in to get the quick grounder or move them back towards the grass or play the line?

            If there are 2 outs and a close game do you bring them in closer to get the quick grounder, leaving a gap between them and the outfield? Do you bring the outfield in too and concede that if it gets over their heads the game is lost?

            Do you move them back towards the grass with 1 out or 2, or what?

            Do you move them at all? What are some good situations where it is benficial to move your infield in or out, and do you do the same with the outfield?

            I know alot of it has to do with knowing the batters too (where they hit most often, are they power hitters or ground ball hitters, etc), but if you don't know the batters, what do you do?

            There is no reason to bring the infield in with 2 outs first of all. With 2 outs you play what is called "no doubles" which means you guard the line closer than normal and also do not play close up so you have more time in case its a hard ground balll. A situation where you would bring in infielders and outfielders would be winning or run at third with less than 2 outs (do or die). The only other reason to bring in the infield where its late and very close game would be for example if the other team scores 2 with a guy on third in the 6th inning and the thinking must be you can't let anymore runs score. First and second hitters usually the third basemen will play around the grass area to stop the bunt. Usually you are going to move back once there is two strikes because 99.999% of the time they will not bunt. For the power hitters 3-4-5 your fielders should be back somewhat because of the power and unlikely chance of a bunt although I have seen a few people doing dumb things like bunting early with power hitters for hits lol.
            Last edited by korp; 04-27-2008, 08:49 AM.
            “If there was ever a man born to be a hitter it was me.” - Ted Williams
            "Didn't come up here to read. Came up here to hit." - Hank Aaron

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