The Ole Ball Game

Who covers second base on a steal from first?

by James
(Winfield Ill)

James asked: I was wondering if there is a runner on first who covers second on a steal, the short stop or second baseman?

Is this determined by the batter and if its a lefty or righty?

Rick answered: James, thank you for your question!

General rule is, it is determined by whether the hitter is righty or lefty.

Lefty hitter, shortstop covers, righty hitter, second baseman covers.

There are a few situations in which a defensive team may choose to switch it up:

  • Hitter consistently hits to the opposite field.

  • Opponent's hitter has been late on your pitcher.

  • Opponent works a lot of hit and runs and it would be beneficial to leave your oppo side infielder home, so you are not creating a big hole to hit and run through.

As you look at the photo above, no runner is visible; but the action says runner from first is on the move to second.

Left handed hitter; but the 2B is covering. Center fielder is on his way to back up 2B, catcher up and throwing.

May have been a shortstop, 2B switch.

Flexibility with your infielders allows you to adjust to whatever may be thrown your way. Fun stuff to teach and a great feeling when you see them make the adjustment at game speed, on their own, without needing the bench to make the call for them.

They are on their way to becoming the fluid, thinking players we all love to watch play the game. One of coaching's special moments!

Yours in baseball,


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Louisville Sluggers. 1920's

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