www.ibmhursleyclub.org.uk > sub-sections > softball > rules

Rules, Quick Reference:
aim of the game, scoring, pitching, tagged base, tagged runner, caught out
The diagram right shows a layout of the field of play (also known as 'the pitch'), as well as the typical positions of the 10 fielders: Catcher (C), 1st Base (1B), 2nd Base (2B), 3rd Base (3B), Pitcher (P), Short Stop (SS), Left Field (LF), Centre Left (CL), Centre Right (CR) and Right Field (RF).

At any one time one of the teams will be batting and one will be fielding.  Each team takes it in turn to bat and then to field. An innings describes the period in which both teams will have batted and fielded once. A game usually comprises seven innings.

Illustration: Softball Diamond (The Pitch)
The Softball Diamond
The aim of the game is to score more runs than the opposing team. This is achieved when batting. The batter walks up to the plate and attempts to hit the ball pitched to them. Once the batter hits the ball they place the bat in a controlled manner on the ground and run in an anti-clockwise direction to 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, or if they've hit the ball sufficiently well to home, where they will score a home run. Unlike rounders, the home base and the plate are the same.

Runs are scored each time a member of the batting team (runner) makes it home. This is irrespective of whether they have done it in one, or more than one go. Therefore it is up to the batter to decide, once they have hit the ball, which is the best base to run to. There are a number of ways in which the fielding team can get the batter or runner out: Strike out. A strike will be called by the umpire when either the batter swings at a ball and misses or when the pitcher (P) throws a good ball (as deemed by the umpire) and the batter does not attempt to hit the ball. Three strikes and the batter is out.

Note that if the pitcher throws a bad ball then the umpire will call "ball" (e.g. it is too high or too far away from the batter). The batter must decide whether a ball pitched to them is good (in which they should in most cases attempt to hit it) or bad (in which case they should not swing at the ball with their bat). A full count will be called by the umpire when the pitcher has thrown five balls at the batter, resulting in a count of two strikes and three balls.  If the next ball thrown results in a strike then the batter is out.  If it's a ball then the batter is told to walk to 1st or 2nd base by the umpire.

Tagged base:  this occurs when a runner is forced to run to the next base. This (usually) happens when another runner is running towards their base. At any point in time only one person from the batting team may occupy the same base. If a fielder who is holding the ball places their foot on the base before the runner reaches it, then the runner is out.

Tagged runner: the runner is out if a fielder touches the runner between bases with the hand in which they are holding the ball.

Caught out: when a fielder catches the ball hit by the batter. Once three people from the batting side are out then their batting innings is over and the fielding side have a turn to bat.

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