First and Third Rundown

With runners on first and third there is always the possibility of the runner at first attempting to get caught in a rundown. This should be one of the easiest defensed plays in the game if run correctly.

Communication is key. The pitcher must be alerted as soon as the runner takes off towards second. The pitcher must keep his eye on the runner at third as he steps off the rubber. This action will make the runner on third commit to home or stay at third. If the runner at third commits to home the play is there, if not he turns directly to second base where the second baseman has sprinted to the line between first and second close to but not at the bag. The pitcher throws to the second baseman with no hesitation. This action makes the runner at third make a split-second decision whether to stay or go. It also gives the ball to a fielder who can see the entire play in front of him, both runners, instead of the pitcher having his back to the third base runner. The second baseman now need only tag the runner coming from first, or run him back to first while watching the runner at third.

This defensive scheme puts all the decision making on the runner at third, and forces him to make a split second decision to go or stay. However, this play relies heavily on communication and quick, fluid execution. There should be no hesitation on the part of the pitcher, its step-off looking at third making the runner commit, turn and throw to the second baseman.

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