Standard Bunt Defense
Bunt defenses are a very important part of the game, especially the lower levels of the game. (If you would like help visualizing and following the bunt defense videos, download this field chart: Bunt Defense Field Chart)
When defending the bunt using what is called ‘Standard Bunt Defense’ an out is the goal. Practicing these bunt defenses on a regular basis will give your team the confidence they need to handle these situations well.
Assuming the ball is bunted, the leftfielder will break over and be in a line from first base through third base at the fence line. The center fielder should be in a line from where ball is fielder through second base. The right fielder should be in a line from where ball was fielded through first base.
The 1b would be cheating in front of the base and when hitter shows bunt he charges to the plate. If the ball is bunted hard he can check to see about the play at third base. Only if he knows for sure should this play be taken. Otherwise make the play at 1b.
The second baseman can cheat a bit toward first base before the pitch, and when the hitter shows bunt, he can take a few short steps in, but he can not break to first base until the ball is bunted.
The shortstop should keep the runner honest at 2b before the pitch. He will cover second base on this play. I have seen the shortstop cover third base when the ball is bunted to the 3b. This does keep the runner rounding 3rd honest. However, if the batter runner is safe at first base, then no one is on second. This could give the offense an extra base and a big letdown for the defense. Also, if the bunt is in the air and the runner from second base heads to third base, we need to have the ss at 2b so we can throw behind the runner.
The third baseman starts the play 6feet off the bag and 6 feet in front of the bag. If the hitter shows bunt, the third baseman must wait and see the location of the bunt. If bunted at the pitcher or first baseman, the third baseman will cover 3b. If the ball is bunted halfway between pitcher and third base line the third baseman will charge and make play at first base. If the third baseman does make the play, the pitcher should hustle over to 3b and keep the runner honest as he rounds third base. The catcher should call the play for the fielders.
Assuming the ball was bunted, the left fielder must be in a line from where the ball was fielded through third base. The center fielder should be in a line from where the ball was fielded through second base and the right fielder should be in a line from where the ball was fielded through first base.
Note—any time a fielder is charging on a bunt he does need to break down a bit. Also, if a bunt is hard right at the fielder, the fielder should always take a look at the forward play. If he has the out there take it, if not, he has lots of time to get the bunter at first base.
Standard bunt defense is the bunt defense that your team should default to. You run it when you getting an out is more valuable to your team than preventing a runner from advancing a base. Situations where this is beneficial would be early in a game, when you are winning a game. You probably will want to use other bunt defenses when the game is on the line, and the other team is trying to advance the tying or go ahead run.