Coaching Academy: Cuts and Relays
One of the most important team defense that coaches and players should know how to do is cuts and relays. What happens when the ball is hit into the outfield with runners on base? Where do the fielders go and line up? Where do the outfielders go when the ball is hit to them? Every fielder has an obligation to go somewhere during a cut and relay situation. We are here to help you understand cuts and relays and how to coach it.
Definitions of Cuts and Relays:
Cuts: A regular base hit to the outfield with runners on base will have the ball thrown to a cut man on the infield.
Relays: An extra base hit past the outfielders will have the ball thrown to a relay tandem of 2 infield position players (no more than 10 feet apart) who will make the throw back to the infield.
The ball will be cut by the infielder in one of two possible situations:
- The ball is on time but off line, or
- the ball is not on time
Base Hit to Right Field with Runner on First
Steve Nicollerat discusses Cuts when ball is hit to Right Field with a runner on 1B.
Base Hit to Right Field with Runner on Second Base
Steve Nicollerat discusses Cuts when ball is hit to Right Field with a runner on 2B.
Base Hit to Right Field with Runners on First Base and Second Base
Steve Nicollerat discusses how to teach cuts with men on 2nd and 1st base when ball is hit to right field.
Base Hit to Center Field w/ runner at First Base
Steve Nicollerat breaks down what to do on Cuts when the ball is Hit to Center Field.
Base Hit to Center Field w/ runners on 2nd and 1st base
Steve Nicollerat discusses how to teach cuts with men on 2nd and 1st base when ball is hit to centerfield.
Base Hit to Left-Center Field w/ runner on 1st base
Steve Nicollerat teaches how to coach cuts hit to left-center field man on 1st base.
Base Hit to Left Field w/ runner on 2nd base
Steve Nicollerat discusses how coaches should teach cuts when man is on 2nd base when ball is hit to left field.
Base Hit to Left Field w/ runners on 2nd and 1st base
Steve Nicollerat discusses how to teach cuts with men on 2nd and 1st base when ball is hit to left field.
When a ball is hit to the wall and it becomes a relay situation, no matter what the situation with base runners, the defense can plan for only 2 possibilities—nobody on or a man on first. Note: Runners on 2b or 3b in this situation will score without a play, so we don’t worry about them.
No Runners On Base:
- We know the runner will have at least a double. If the ball is hit to center or left the SS goes out and the Second Baseman will trail him by about 12 feet.
- The outfielder will try to relay the ball back to the SS. If the throw from the outfielder is low or too high, the SS will let the ball go to the 2nd Baseman for an easier handle.
- The infielder who catches the ball will make a throw to either 3b or home depending on the runner and the catcher’s call.
- The 1st Baseman will trail the batter runner into 2b and position himself on the 3b side.
- If the batter runner goes too far to 3b and decides to come back to 2b the relay man could throw behind the runner to the first baseman covering 2b.
Base Runner on First Base:
- Then we assume our first play would be on that runner trying to score. The middle infielders go out and assume relay positions, the first baseman would become a cut man being lined up by the catcher in line with the ball in the outfield, thru the relay men to home. The first basemen then communicates and lines up the middle infielders.
- The outfielder not in the play would hustle in and cover 2b to keep the batter runner from going to 3b and then trying to come back to 2b.
- The pitcher backs up either 3b (nobody on), or goes half way between 3b and home with a runner on 1b. The pitcher would then see where the relay throw is going and hustle to back up that throw. The pitcher should be back as far as he can get when he backs up.
- Note—on extra base hits to right field the 2b is the front man and the SS would be the trailer about 12 feet behind the second baseman. It is always the job of the trailer to be the eyes and brains of the front guy constantly looking back at runner and then finding ball and determining where the front guy should be throwing the ball. The trailer should be constantly talking to the front man.
Extra Base Hit to Left Field with Nobody on Base – Relays
Steve Nicollerat’s discusses how to teach relays when ball is hit to left field with no body on.
Extra Base Hit to Left-Center Field w/ Man on 1st Base – Relay
This video describes how to teach a relay with a extra base hit to left-center field w/ man on 1st base.
Extra Base Hit down Left Field Line w/ Man on 1st Base – Relay
Steve Nicollerat discusses how to teach relay when man is on 1st and ball is hit down left field line.
Extra Base Hit to Right-Center Field w/ Nobody on Base – Relays
This video describes how to teach relays with a extra base hit to right-center field w/ nobody on base.
Extra Base Hit to Right-Center Field w/ Man on 1st Base – Relay
Steve Nicollerat discusses how to teach relay defense with a man on 1st and extra base hit to right-center field.
Extra Base Hit to Right Field Corner w/ Man on 1st Base – Relay
This video describes how to teach a relay with a extra base hit to right field corner w/ man on 1st base.