Third base is often called the “hot corner” in baseball. This is because right handed hitters tend to hit a lot of grounders down the third base line and there is little time for the third baseman to react. In youth baseball, this is generally not the case as batters don’t have the bat speed and most right hand hitters will hit to the right side of the field.
If you want to play third base, you need to be a good fielder. You have to have quick reflexes, but don’t need the speed of a shortstop or second baseman. You need to have a strong arm as you will need to make the long throw to first base.
Where does the third baseman play?
For most of the game, the third baseman will stand a few feet behind the bag and four to six steps towards second base. During a bunt situation you can move up to be even with the bag or even a step or two in front of the bag.
Covering the Bag
The third baseman needs to guard third base. While there aren’t a lot of plays at third base during a game, in youth league guarding the bag during an attempted stolen base is an important skill. You need to be able to catch the ball from the catcher and apply the tag.
Catching the ball on a play at third base is especially important. If you miss the catch, the base runner is likely going to score. Your first priority should always be to catch the ball first.
- Back up plays at second base when the throw is made from the right side of the field.
- Start the double play ball by throwing the ball to second base. If there is a force at third, then step on third and then throw to second or first for the force out. Note: You should always go for the sure out. If you don’t think you can make the out at second, go for the sure out at first base.
- Charge the plate and cover bunts hit down the third base line. Note: In youth baseball the coach may want the pitcher to field these bunts and the third baseman to stay at the bag.