Softball

From year two on we will be playing Softball.

Fundamentals of the game

The game of softball is played between two teams of nine players  Who take it in turn to bat and field. An inning is played when each team has had a turn in batting and fielding. A match consists of 9 innings.

A pitcher delivers the ball to a batter who attempts to hit it. The batter’s objective is to reach base and eventually score. A runner advances at his own risk around the bases. The teams scores a run ( point) when a player safely touches first, second, third and home base before three outs are made. A run can be scored in stages, the batter does not have to get around all bases in one hit. If he does it’s called a “ home run”.


The field and player positions.

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The pitcher

The pitcher’s role is the most important on any softball team. He needs to throw the ball fast and accurate. 

Balls and strikes.

A pitched ball is either a ‘strike’ or a ‘ball’.

Using an underarm action the pitcher attempts to throw a ‘strike’ (whereby the ball passes through the ‘strike zone’.

The ‘ strike zone’.

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This is an imaginary column over the home plate. It’s just as wide as the home plate and positioned between the batter’s knees and armpit.

Any ball thrown by the pitcher not going through the strike zone is called a ball.

If the pitcher throws 4 balls the batter is awarded first base.






The Batter

The batter is allowed three strikes at which he can attempt a hit.

The umpire will call a strike when:

  • The ball passes through the ‘strike zone’ without the batter attempting to hit it.
  • The batter swings at a pitch but misses it, even if it would have been a ball.
  • The batter hits the ball into foul territory. (Except on the third strike).

What is fair territory? 

What is a good hit?

A hit is correct if the ball lands in fair territory, and doesn’t roll into foul territory before first or third base.

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The Fielder

The fielder’s objective is to prevent the runner to reach base. If the fielding team makes 3 outs, they become batting team and can try to reach base and score points.

An out can be recorded in 4 different ways:

Strikeout: when the batter misses the ball three times.

          A foul ball is considered a strike.

          A foul ball can never become a strikeout.

Force-out: when the ball reaches first base before the batter/runner.

Tag-out: when the batter/runner gets tagged before he reaches first base. 

Fly-out: when the ball gets caught before hitting the ground.

  • If the ball is caught in foul territory the batter is considered Fly-out.


When a batter misses the ball for the third time, but the catcher does not catch the pitch he may still try to reach first base. The fielding team has to attempt to make the out on first base.

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The base runner

A batter becomes base runner after a hit into fair territory.

There is only one base runner allowed on a base. It is prohibited to overtake another base runner. 

Because of this you must pay attention to what the batter after you is doing.

If you are a runner on first base and the batter after you hits the ball, he automatically gets rewarded first base. As an effect of this, you are forced to run to second base. 

This is called a forced-run.

In this situation you can be forced out, if the fielding team delivers the ball to second base before you reach it. In every other situation the runner must be tagged-out. Of course you can get tagged-out in a forced-run also.

A base runner must stay on his base until the pitcher has released the ball for his pitch. As soon as the pitcher releases the ball the base runner can try to attempt to reach the next base. If he does so and the batter does not hit the ball it is called a stolen base.  (If the catcher delivers the ball to second base before you reach it, the base man can try to tag  you out).

In case of a fly-out the base runner is not allowed to proceed to the next base, he must return to the base he started from and ‘tag up’. (Stand on the base until the ball is caught, if he thinks the ball is hit far enough and he has time, he may attempt to reach the next base). 

In case of a foul-hit the base runner must also return to the base he started from. He can not get tagged out.

If this same runner thinks that the ball will not be caught, he can gamble and leave the base. However, if a fielder does make  the catch, the base runner must return to his base, either to tag up and (if time) attempt to run to the next base or stay on that base. If the defense throws the ball to the base the runner has to return to before the runner arrives, he will be called out.

When is the base-runner considered an out?

  1. If he gets tagged when not touching a base. Exception is first base, you are allowed to run past it in a straight line, and make a u-turn to the right, and return to first base. If you turn left you are considered to try to reach second base and therefore can be tagged out.
  2. If he gets forced-out during a forced-run.
  3. If he leaves his running track in an attempt to avoid being tagged-out.
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Score points.

To score a point the base-runner must successively reach first-, second-, third- and home-base. If he succeeds without being tagged, or forced-out, he has scored a point.

It can occur that a point isn’t awarded, that is if at the same time the third out is being made.

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© Maarten Vermeulen 2013