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Discussion: How best to position11 defensive players?

Posted Discussion
June 24
Kev
Men's 65
12 posts
I just recently played in my first senior softball tournament where there was 11 players that could be used defensively. This was the first time our manager/coach played with 11 and he positioned us as 5 outfielders. After playing the pool games some of the players recommended we play 5 infielders and 4 out fielders. He stayed with the 5 outfielders. Every team we played over the next 6 games used 5 infielders. What is the best defensive strategy?
June 25
k man
Men's 65
328 posts
Kev, Observe what other teams do, and it should be obvious that the 11th player as a middle fielder is the standard. Guys don't shoot the middle as much with the middle fielder, more double plays are turned. When given the equalizer of 5 runs or a middle fielder we always choose the middle fielder.
Only time I see teams use a 5th outfielder is when they move the middle fielder to short left field on a guy who is a strict pull hitter. Success with/without the middle fielder might dictate what your manager does.
June 25
Benji4
Men's 55
289 posts
I think your 11th player should be sitting next to the coach on the bench with his batting gloves on waiting to hit.................

Softball was meant to be played with 10 defensive players...
June 25
TexasTransplant
Men's 70
516 posts
I think it's situational, depending on both the game situation and the skills of the guy you've got playing the position. We (70AAA) usually play him as a fifth infielder shaded to whichever side of second the batter's tendencies dictate. For some situations (e.g. two out and runner on 1st, he may position himself deeper in the outfield looking for a force at second. Other times, when we're facing some good middle hitters, we may use him as a rover (and I've seen some really athletic guys do a lot of damage from that position). The only time i can recall seeing anyone use him strictly as a fifth outfielder was when an older team was facing a younger team (i.e., 75's vs. 70's) and the younger team had pretty good power.

The biggest problem we have with the 11th player is coordinating coverage of 2nd base because it's just different than you've done all your softball life.

And Benji4, as a hitter I might agree with you, but it is what it is.
June 25
Omar Khayyam

1357 posts
Our team has settled on using the 11th man as a fifth infielder because of the many double plays. I will admit that against some all-field sluggers we move him into a fifth outfielder position to close the gaps.

Benji4, I've probably been playing softball longer than you (this is my 65th season) and I remember what my dad, the coach of our team likely said when we went from 9 men teams to 10 (and we used the 10th guy as a positional rover). He would say...

Softball was meant to be played with 9 defensive players!
June 26
Fred S
Men's 85
297 posts
Texas Transplant is right. Totally depends on your personnel. I have almost always used my 11th player as a rover. A player with good range and strong arm will take away a lot of hits that would normally fall in. Also somewhat depends on your pitcher

Couple of years I didn't have that kind of player but had a good smart fielder, in positioning himself defensively, with not much of an arm so I played him up the middle behind 2nd.

IMO if you have the players good range and arm you are wasting him playing behind the 2nd base bag.

Situations are also critical. Depending on the batter we could vary between 5 man infield to 5 man outfield.
June 26
crusher
Men's 75
524 posts
Just played a tour in Waxahachie Tx.
We only had 10 players.
The other team scored probably 6 or 7 runs by hitting up middle.
Without the 11 player as a 5th infielder up the middle this resulted in losing by 1 run.
June 28
ffdonnie
Men's 60
137 posts
I agree with Benji4
June 28
Omar Khayyam

1357 posts
ffdonnie, do you also agree with my coach Dad that "Softball was meant to be played with 9 defensive players!" or are you a modernist?
June 30
ffdonnie
Men's 60
137 posts
I guess I'm a modernist? I started softball in 1980 and have only seen 10 fielders, until Senior softball. I've been on the 11 player side and do not agree with it. We beat JK Inc. with 11 several years ago, they were pissed. And now I see why.
Giving runs, limited home runs, and home team are enough. 11 defenders is like play softball in grade school gym class with 20 to a side.
July 3
Slap hitter

28 posts
This just in...Oklahoma Sooners football team is so good, that next year they have to give 7 pts, they can only run the ball12 times and the other team gets an extra free safety each game. It's been rumored that now they are lobbying to get a participation trophy. What will they want in 5 years if they can't pull off a win then?
July 3
crusher
Men's 75
524 posts
When old enough to play 11 speed slows down,
Hitting may still be at a high level.
20+ runs happen a lot.
OLD men can only run to the fences so many times in 95+ temp.
We still like to play though, having 11 defenders sure helps.
C
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