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Defending Aggressive Base Running

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  • Defending Aggressive Base Running

    The team we faced yesterday in our 10U rec league was very aggressive on the base paths. Every time the ball is in play their runners are instructed to try run halfway to the next base to get in a pickle in order to advance the lead runner. This happened even with the pitcher with the ball on the rubber at least once. I know the only way to stop this tactic is to actually throw them out a few times, which we did twice, but I think it was because they got careless more than anything. We fell for it at least once as well and gave up a run. What is the best way to defend this without letting the trailing runner advance? All of the infielders are usually reliable, but we hate to risk throwing the ball around.
    WAR EAGLE!

  • #2
    No one else on base, if pitcher has ball flat out sprint at runner cheating a little towards lead base. Always amazed how many runners freeze for simple tag in this scenario.

    Runner on third depends on game situation. Depending on the score, you have three options.

    1. Concede second base
    2. Fake for the out at second and catch the guy at third being to aggressive
    3. Concede the run and get the out

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    • #3
      I am trying to come up with ways to not concede either base. I want both runners to retreat to their base for at least the next pitch. I guess we just have to have the arm strength and accuracy and good gloves to be able throw runners out from anywhere in the infield.

      The team we played Saturday got us once when they kept the runners off the bases a little even as the pitcher took the ball to and stood on the rubber. They then sent the runner from first, which spooked our pitcher, who threw to second, where we would have had the runner out easily, but the runner from 3rd went home so the 2B threw home, made a bad throw, the runner scored and the other runner moved to 3rd. It worked perfectly for them. We only fell for this once, but it was very frustrating when it happened. If we had the pitcher walk a runner back to the base, the other one would get a large lead off base. As the pitcher moved back to the rubber, both runners would move off the base. I just want a way to force both runners back. We were able to get a runner once because our pitcher (the one from my Help our Pitcher thread) is very ballsy and made a great, quick, illadvised throw to 1st after checking the runner back to 3rd and the 1B made a good play to tag out the runner. Frequently those sudden, hard throws spook the fielder enough to make them drop the ball.
      WAR EAGLE!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by The Flush View Post
        The team we faced yesterday in our 10U rec league was very aggressive on the base paths. Every time the ball is in play their runners are instructed to try run halfway to the next base to get in a pickle in order to advance the lead runner. This happened even with the pitcher with the ball on the rubber at least once. I know the only way to stop this tactic is to actually throw them out a few times, which we did twice, but I think it was because they got careless more than anything. We fell for it at least once as well and gave up a run. What is the best way to defend this without letting the trailing runner advance? All of the infielders are usually reliable, but we hate to risk throwing the ball around.
        I don’t mean to make light of you question which is a good one, but the easiest way to defend against aggressive base running, is to cut down on the runners reaching base. There’s absolutely nothing you can do about hits because they’re gonna happen no matter what ya do. But, you can do something about runners who ROE or reach on walks or get HBP. If you cut down on just 1 walk or HBP and 1 ROE per game, that’s 2 runners who never get the chance to advance.

        As for how kids that age in a rec league would defend against aggressive base running, they really can’t. Its because it’s a lot easier for one kid to run 60’ in a straight line, than it is for a pitcher to make a good pitch the catcher can handle easily, the catcher to catch the ball then execute all the muscle movements correctly to transfer the ball and make a good throw to a base, then have the fielder receiving the throw get into proper position to catch it, catch it, then apply a tag without losing control of the ball.

        Until the distance between bases get longer and the players get more skilled, you can only keep trying to teach the fielders the skills they need to execute correctly in order to catch runners.
        The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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        • #5
          I don't mind steals (our league requires the ball the reach the plate before running). It's the stuff that happens as the play is ALMOST over.
          WAR EAGLE!

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          • #6
            our 9/10u rec league has the pitching mound as "home base." basically, once the pitcher is on the mound with the ball, the baserunners can no longer advance.

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            • #7
              You could always have the 1B trail the runner. If the throw goes to 1B then they can apply a quick tag or at least have a very short distance rundown.

              You could also have the RF sprint in and shadow the runner. I like this one because the RF is moving "toward the plate" so if the jagbag runner takes off for home, the RF's momentum is heading toward home.

              A combination of the two involving a "fake overthrow to 1B" or a literal overthrow of the 1B but directly to the RF could be interesting ... but even then on 60-foot bases it requires too much given the average player's defensive prowess.

              It's just stupid, because now you have to plan and prepare for something you'll never see at higher levels, and the other team excels at something that will not transfer.

              The bothersome aspect to me is that is not really a skill that other players don;t have, but a style that many coaches are not willing to utilize because of its exploitative nature. But some coaches cave in so they can "fight fire with fire."

              I really don't get it. It's simply an exploit of the basepath distances and size of the kids. People certainly do talk up the quality of travel baseball but when we play in no leadoff games, it's amazing how low the scores are. It's almost as if kids rely on passed balls for runs instead of learning how to hit line drive and balls out of the infield. Hmm, yes very interesting. Maybe it's easier to teach baserunning exploits than great hitting mechanics. Yes, maybe. Oh, CircleChange11, shut up. Just be sure to label your kid "elite" or "select" and get with the program.

              The defenses have been very good, I will say. That's refreshing.

              I don’t mean to make light of you question which is a good one, but the easiest way to defend against aggressive base running, is to cut down on the runners reaching base.
              Yeah,like the dad in crowd yells "Throw strikes". Who knew?

              Comment


              • #8
                From what I have heard, our league "all-star" team faced a lot of this type of base running in tournaments last year, so now some of the coaches whose kids were on that team are using the technique to win in rec league as well as being prepared to "fight fire with fire" once the all-star season rolls around.

                I was thinking of having the SS cover 3B and have the 3B go half way between 3rd and home (or trail the runner), fake the throw to 2nd or 1st to freeze that runner and then throw to the 3B halfway home for a tag.

                I thought of having the outfielders cover bases, but at that point, we might as well concede 2nd.
                Last edited by The Flush; 05-07-2012, 10:59 AM. Reason: formatting
                WAR EAGLE!

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                • #9
                  Basically, you have the middle infielder take the throw not in a situation for a rundown, but have him run right to R1. He can then take the throw in a position that allows for both a tag and a chance at the lead runner. Outfielders covering shouldn't be an option at 10u. They should be fairly deep. I understand this is rec and you might not have the talent to properly cover it, at which point you might simply concede the trailing runner, hold the lead runner, and chalk it up to a simple stolen base which was probably coming next anyway at 10u rec.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Flush View Post
                    From what I have heard, our league "all-star" team faced a lot of this type of base running in tournaments last year, so now some of the coaches whose kids were on that team are using the technique to win in rec league as well as being prepared to "fight fire with fire" once the all-star season rolls around.

                    I was thinking of having the SS cover 3B and have the 3B go half way between 3rd and home (or trail the runner), fake the throw to 2nd or 1st to freeze that runner and then throw to the 3B halfway home for a tag.

                    I thought of having the outfielders cover bases, but at that point, we might as well concede 2nd.
                    Real baseball.

                    What you describe is accurate. One team does it and everyone pretty much has to do the same exploit in order to compete. The other option is to be multiple-times more talented than the opposition, but that's not likely.

                    Some of the guys have figured out in rec league you can just run without stopping. If the throw gets to the bag ahead of you just stop and retreat because it's easier to get out of the pickle than to get someone out.

                    I can see where coaches think this makes them look very smart, because it does make the opposition look stupid. But it's also complete jagoff baseball.

                    I'm not seeing much player development going on. I'm seeing very few kids that can hit well, but a lot of kids that can run the bases like idiots.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If this is the strategy in your league, it's probably worth spending a considerable amount of practice time working on the rundown. I know we did so as 8yos where this was somewhat prevelant and once a team knew you execute the rundown, they stopped pulling that crap. Often in rec or at younger ages, it's not worth giving up the out for one run. Show that you can properly make a "pickle" situation an automatic out once or twice and they simply stop doing it.

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                      • #12
                        Our team has so far resisted the temptation to play like this. If anything, we are too conservative. I am usually first base coach and I need to send runners without a passed ball with a runner on 3rd more often. For whatever reason, I usually wait until the catcher at least drops it before sending them. This is usually with the kids who don't understand the game well yet. We almost always get the runner to 2nd anyway. I do really appreciate the kids who have figured it out and take off on their own sometimes. That saves precious time and almost completely elimitates the chance of getting caught (at this age). At least we beat the team that tried those tactics the first time and we are undefeated, but we have to play them again Thursday.
                        WAR EAGLE!

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                        • #13
                          This may be of some help if your catcher is quick/athletic with a good arm. If both runners go halfway have catcher run at the lead runner and make him commit. You may then have an opportunity to throw him out or at least have retreat back to the original base depending on the scenario of outs and bases runners are on.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Roothog66 View Post
                            Show that you can properly make a "pickle" situation an automatic out once or twice and they simply stop doing it.
                            Is this without allowing the run or conceding the run to get the runner out?

                            Isn't the offense trying to get the defense to make a play on them? In other words, they're trying to score the run and/or take the base without having the defense throw a pitch?

                            Even if you get the guy on 1st out, the runner is going to score, right?

                            Isn't that the whole point of the baserunning exploit at this age level? That even the teams that practice it can't stop the play without the runner from third scoring? (at least consistently)

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                            • #15
                              I see this as well, and unfortunately am guilty of the "fight fire with fire" mentality. Trying to get over it though . In the 9U tournaments we play in there usually isn't leading, but there is stealing. The most common play I see is 1st and 3rd less than 2 outs. Runner steals 2nd on 1st pitch. We either ignore it, or have the SS coming in and catcher throws to SS who throws home. It's our all-star team that plays in these tournaments. They come back and play in the rec league during the spring and they are like caffeinated hyaenas on the base path. I've seen them ignore the base coaches and do their own thing. I've benched kids on my team for this.

                              Worst I've seen was in a local tournament where they call balks after giving one warning (this is 9U). I saw a coach tell one of his kids to just get out of his stance as the pitcher winds up. Most of the pitchers are confused and stop pitching and the ump issues a warning, and the next time it's a balk. Horrible, doesn't teach anything.

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