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Youth Baseball Drills - Bullet Proofing That Devilish First And Third Scenario
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Youth Baseball Drills - Bullet Proofing That Devilish First And Third Scenario

By Nate Barnett

One of the trickiest defensive situations for younger teams is the runners on first and third situation. You know the scenario. The guy on first base leaves early, or walks off first base in the attempt to draw a throw from the pitcher and remain in a pickle just long enough for the runner on third base to score. It's annoying when it works while you're on defense, but absolutely brilliant where you're on offense.

I'll show you how your squad can bullet proof this scenario. Let me tell you however, that it must be implemented in your youth baseball drills often, else panic syndrome will always take over and wreck this important defensive play.

The best thing to remember in this scenario is that the defensive team is in control of the situation. The defense controls the pace, and ultimately if the runs scores. Because of this, there is no need to hurry through the play. Here is how the ideal scenario plays out for the defense.


1. Base runner leaves first base early attempting to draw a throw from the pitcher. Or, he begins to steal the base and the stops in the middle of the base path putting pressure on the catcher to do something. I'll address both situations.

2A. The base runner leaves early from first base before the pitch is delivered. The first baseman yells, "step off!" to the pitcher, who then steps off the rubber. He checks the runner on third base by looking at him and making sure his momentum is not going towards home plate. Then, he turns and immediately throws the ball to the second baseman who has come up into the base path from his position.

2B. The base runner steals second base except stops in between first and second base. The pitch is delivered and the catcher has the ball. He steps in front of the plate and turns his body quickly towards third base until the runner's momentum has stopped moving towards home plate. He then pivot and throws the ball directly to the second baseman who has come up into the base path from his position.

3. With the ball in hand and in a dart throwing position (never in the glove) the second baseman begins to WALK quickly towards first base (no running or jogging). One of two things will happen. The runner on first base will go back to the bag (first base), or the runner on third base will break towards home to draw a throw from the second baseman.

4. If the runner returns to first base, the second baseman immediately throws the ball to the pitcher who returns to the mound and prepares for the next pitch. If the runner on third breaks towards home, the third baseman yells, "runner!" The second baseman turns and throws the ball to home plate.

The worst thing that can happen during this play is for the defense to panic and forget that they are in control. If nerves can be kept, there is a very high percentage chance the play will end successfully.

About the Author

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball and is based out of Washington State. His expertise is in the area of hitting, pitching, and mental training. Coach Barnett's passion is working with youth in helping expand their vision for their baseball future. After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career. His instructional blog is located at

His new FREE ebook, Toxic Baseball: Are you polluting your game? can be found on the main BMI Baseball website.

Hitting 101, an ebook on complete hitting mechanics will be released by June 1st, 2008. Features include numerous illustrations, video clips, and a special offer to discuss your hitting questions over live on the phone strategy sessions.

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