Tandem cuts are specifically used for balls that are hit in either gap or down the lines, that the defense knows will be doubles and possible triples. It would be easiest to give a scenario before practicing the softball tandem cut drill.
Softball Tandem Cut Drill
The batter hits a gapper to left-center for a sure double. LF and CF are going after the ball. SS is going out to be the cut because the ball is hit on her side of the field. 2B is going to trail the SS by about 15 feet, she is the tandem cut, (both of which are being lined up by the 3B). 1B waits for the batter/runner to round first and then she will trail the runner all the way to second.
The ball is relayed into the SS from the CF, but goes over is head because of a bad throw. However, the 2B is there for just that purpose, and she catches the ball and relays to appropriate bag or runs it in.
Now, this tandem cut is used primarily for a bad throw from the outfield, or a bad hop from the relay to the cut player. This prevents extra bases from being taken if there wasn’t a second person in the play. If there was a runner on first to begin the play, it is possible that a tandem cut could prevent this runner from scoring if the relay went off target.
This play switches the cut and tandem player when the play is on the other side, in the right-center gap. A double down the right field line can be handled by the 2B being the cut, and SS being the tandem. However, on the left-field line, things need to change and can be done differently. Here is another option.
Double down the left field line. 3B has to go out to be the cut man and SS will be the tandem. 2B cannot come all the way over to be the cut man, so she will go to her base and we won’t have the 1B be a trailer. However, she can come to the left field side of the circle and be a filler in case of a bad relay from the cut player to the pitcher, who will be the fielder at 3B. Note: The pitcher, on all other tandems is backup to home plate.
This cut play can only be used at higher levels because of arm strength. In a younger age group, a double cut would have to be used.