Position Notes

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The Range and the Glory

Always try to round off ground balls

You play the ball

The ball does not play you








Middle and corner infielders supply the Range, Glory and Guts of a baseball team.

Ready to sacrifice their bodies on any given play, they are literally the heart beat of the defense and the key to playing winning baseball at any level. Teams lucky enough to have 4 good infielders are usually part of championship teams no matter where they play or at what level they compete. If a team does not have solid infielders, they can not win.

Body Works

Getting the body into the proper fielding position is key to becoming a good infielder. To kids, a good way to get them into this is to teach them to be “baseball ready”. This means being ready from the time the pitch is made, through the batters swing, hit or miss. Learning to be baseball ready is extremely important and gives infielders the best chance to make the play should the ball be hit in their area. The following must be observed by infielders and used on every pitch, and on every play.

The Infielder’s Hands

The hands should never be placed on the knees, instead they should be held low, turned slightly upward in front of the body.


Feet should be kept about shoulder width apart, pointing slightly towards home plate. The toes should be turned slightly inward, with the weight of the body up on the balls of the feet for quickness. The knees should be slightly bent, the tail kept down to be able to move and react in any direction. Tip: Always try to round off ground balls whenever possible. It’s the best way to position the body to make good accurate throws.

You play the ball - the ball does not play you.

Many young infielders get caught up in the difficult position of the ball playing them, when it is the infielder that MUST, play the ball. To keep this from happening, a good infielder will take one or two short, choppy steps, forward, designed to generate a little motion, before the pitch is thrown. This slight movement will allow a smooth transition to whatever direction the ball is hit, or towards whatever base the infielder needs to go to.  Use a cross over step, far foot first, to go side to side, to field balls hit in those directions. Carefully charge balls hit at you, making sure to get a good bounce. Infielder’s always watch the pitcher until the ball is released, follows the ball all the way to the swing, and the spot on the bat when it hits the ball. This increases the ability to see which way the ball will go once hit. With miss, or a hit, it starts over again on every pitch.

Ground Balls

The correct way to field a grounder is with the wrists relaxed and the glove on the ground. It’s better to raise the glove to catch the ball than to go down or have it go through the legs. Watch the ball into the glove, out in front of the body, then cradle the ball into the glove with the throwing hand to keep it from popping out. From there, skip into the throwing motion, raising the ball and glove close and chest high, ready to throw, feet in position, legs spread with the left foot leading the throw (right- handers), making a strong hard throw with a good follow through. Always make sure the ball is in complete control before attempting to throw.

Throwing to a Base

As with most throws, the over hand motion usually is the strongest, most accurate. and least stressful to complete. But, infielders also have to be able to throw sidearm or even underhand depending on the play. On certain plays such as bunts, dribblers or on double plays, all these throws will come into play. The common thread with every throw is that it has to be quick and accurate.

Due or Die Plays

Hard hit balls into he holes between the shortstop and third, up the middle between second an short or between first and second are always tough. Whenever possible dive to try to knock those balls down if they cannot be fielder cleanly. Double play exchanges should be practices often so the infielders know each other completely, and can handle any exchange to throw the ball accurately

from any position. Remember, on double plays, there is an added degree of difficulty because of the runner coming to disrupt the exchange and/or throw.

The Infielder, the Relay and the Throw

On balls hit to the outfield the infielder acts as the relay on many plays. Long hits suggest that the outfielder, who usually has the stronger arm,. make the longer throw. This allows the infielder to make the shorter throw. The infielder positions for the throw by going out towards the outfielder and the ball, then begins to move back to the infield as the throw is aligned. By holding the glove away from the body, shoulder to head high, held as a target for the outfielder to throw at. The infielder needs to be ready to make the catch, turning counterclockwise to quickly make the strong throw to the correct base using a smooth, crow-hop motion.

Who takes the Relay and where

On balls hit to the left field area, the Shortstop goes out to take the throw, while second base is covered by the player at second. The opposite applies to balls hit to right field, second goes to get the throw, while the shortstop covers the base. On short hits, to left or right, the shortstop or second can cover the base, according to where it is hit, each backs-up the Double Relay Throws Extra base hits require the use of the double relay. Balls hit to left field area, the shortstop goes out first to meet the ball. On balls hit to the right side, the second base player goes out, staying between the outfielder and the first base player, usually around 20 to 25 feet out. Bad throws should be allowed to go by the first player out with the player behind fielding the throw. When there are no other runners on base, the first base player watches the bag to assure the runner touches it, then follows him on the infield grass, half way to the bag, providing back-up in case the ball gets by. If the runner misses the base, tell the umpire you will be appealing the play. The pitcher then takes the mound, steps off, throws to first to await the umpires call.

Cut-off or Relay Throws: Is there a difference?

There is a big difference between Cut-off ’s and relays. Mainly, on a relay throw, there is a pre-determined thought as to where the throw will go, and only one place to get the out. This is not a cold, hard rule, there is a high probability that the play will go this way. The relay throw is one where there are usually more than one base running moving, and depending on the location, timing and accuracy of the first throw, there ma be an opportunity to get the out at another base. The player at the end of the throw will usually make the call to cut, or let the ball through. It’s a split second call, which can decide the outcome of the game if executed properly. Usually, the player on first will be the cut off on throws from right field. The third base player handles most plays from left field.

While infielders are getting into position to take a throw, the player covering the base should talk him into the exact location needed to align the throw correctly. "Left, left," or "right", should be clearly and strongly welled out, orders so the player has no doubt where to position themselves for the throw. The line up player should raise both arms up high, giving the outfielder or relay player a clear lane to throw the ball through. A properly executed relay and tag is always an exciting play that can decide games.

Playing the Bag, making the tag

The best way to cover a bag is to straddle the base between the feet. This allows for applying the tag by just lowering the glove with two hands to apply the tag. It reduces the chances of getting the ball knocked out of the glove or being bowled over or spiked by the sliding player. Keep the ball inside the web of the glove then apply the tag with the back side of the glove, with the thumb towards the runner. Sweep the glove to make the tag on the sliding runner as he reaches the bag. Swiftly move the glove away, after contact.

Pop-Ups and Infield Flies

Pop ups hit behind the third base bag are usually caught by the shortstop. Behind first base, the second base player, takes control. If an incoming outfielder calls off the infielder, the outfielder has priority to make the catch because they are coming in on the ball, not back pedaling, as the infielders have to do to make this type of play. Pop ups along the first and third base line are the responsibility of the players at their respective positions.

Run Downs

There are various types of rundowns that can be performed depending of the situations, they could be quite complex. Instead of detailing each variation, an overview of the basic fundamentals will do just as well. The key to most run downs is to tag the runner at full speed. To do this, several throws may be needed to chase the runner to a given base. Only infielders should take part in this play and follow the basic rules of engagement. After one player throws the ball to another, the player making the first throw replaces the position left open by the player receiving the baseball.