Playing Left Field
Taking the Field
- ALWAYS RUN TO YOUR POSITION AT THE BEGINNING OF EVERY 1/2 INNING.
- If we are in the 1st base dugout play catch with the center fielder.
- If we are in the 3rd base dugout, a player who is sitting this 1/2 inning or a coach from our team should throw you some fly balls from the 3B foul line.
- A standard Little League outfield fence is 200 feet from home plate. The base paths are 60 feet. Your basic set-up position is about 50' in from the outfield fence and about 30 - 40 feet over from the 3B foul line.
- Do not stand in a position where the SS or third baseman blocks your view of the plate - YOU MUST BE ABLE TO SEE THE BATTER CLEARLY!
- You must be prepared to move your set-up position to suit the situation:
- If the batter is a "power" hitter you should move deeper
- If he/she is a light hitter you should move in to a more shallow position.
- If your pitcher is throwing a good fastball then most right handed batters will be late with their swing and more hits will go to right field, so you can move a little towards right field (to your left).
- Left handed batters will also be late and therefore will have a tendency to slap it out to left field, so you should move a little towards the 3B foul line (your right).
- If your pitcher is not throwing hard the opposite is more likely - right handed batters can pull the ball to left field (move a little towards the 3B foul line - your right) while lefties will do the same to right field (move a little towards right field - your left).
- LISTEN TO THE COACH FOR SHIFTING INSTRUCTIONS AND COMMUNICATE WITH THE OTHER OUTFIELDERS.
- Check to see if the sun will be in your eyes on fly balls.
- You should use your glove to shield your eyes from the sun.
- Notice which way the wind is blowing because it could "carry" the ball, "knock it down" or blow it to one side or the other.
- ALL BALLS HIT DOWN THE 3B LINE WILL CURVE AWAY FROM YOU - to your right.
- When the pitcher is set on mound get in the "READY" position with knees slightly bent, your throwing side foot slightly behind, your glove in front (with the pocket of the glove facing the batter) and your throwing hand beside your glove (pinkies almost touching).
- Focus eyes on batter.
Anticipating the Play
- Be aware of the situation:
- Are there any base runners? Where are they?
- How many outs are there?
- If there is a runner at 2B and/or 3B you must back up any throws by the catcher to 3B.
- AFTER EVERY PITCH YOU RUN IN AND OVER ON A 45' ANGLE TOWARDS THE 3B FOUL LINE
- IF THERE IS NO THROW DOWN TO 3B BY THE CATCHER RUN BACK TO POSITION!
- When a grounder is hit through the infield out to you in left field CHARGE THE BALL.
- If there are runners on base you should catch the ball like an infielder - low and out in front - and make a strong accurate throw to the relay man.
- If you are close enough and have a chance to get an out, throw directly to 3B or 2B.
- If the game is on the line and a runner is trying to score you may attempt to throw the ball all the way home; keep the ball low on a line (NOT IN A HIGH ARC).
- If there are no runners on you still CHARGE THE BALL but you may field the ball by kneeling on your throwing side knee.
- Come up and throw to the relay man or, if the runner tries to stretch a single into a double and you are close enough to have a chance to get an out, directly to 2B.
- When a fly ball is hit out to you in left field you should see it come off the bat and listen to the sound of it being hit by the bat (it will help you judge how hard it is hit).
- You must immediately determine where the ball is going to land:
- If it is right at you catch the ball over your forehead with the fingers of your glove pointing straight up. Have your throwing hand beside and just behind your glove.
- If it is hit to either side you must step towards the ball, run to the spot where it will come down and catch it properly with both hands up.
- If it is hit over your head you must turn to the side that it is hit, run directly out to the spot where it will come down, turn around to face the infield and catch it properly with both hands up.
- Do not take your eyes off the ball.
- If the ball is hit very deep run back as fast as you can (keeping your eyes on the ball), make a quick check to see where the fence is, touch it with your hand and move to catch the ball.
- If there are no runners on base throw the ball to the relay man.
- If there are runners on quickly throw the ball to the relay man so that the runners do not have time to "tag up" and advance a base.
- If you are close enough you may throw directly to 3B or 2B to get a runner who is attempting to advance.
- If there is a runner at 3B who is "tagging up" and will attempt to score with the game on the line, you may attempt to throw the ball all the way home.
- Otherwise throw to the relay man.
- Even if the ball is hit into centre field you should run towards the ball in case the centre fielder falls or cannot field the ball for some other reason. In this case, you field the ball and throw it in to the relay man.
- Communicate with the centre fielder.
- When the batter bunts you should run directly towards 3B and be prepared to either back-up any throws to 3B or to even become the third baseman if something happens to the third baseman.
Leaving the Field
- ALWAYS RUN BACK TO THE DUGOUT AT THE END OF EVERY 1/2 INNING.
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