Want to play softball but need to learn the rules? We have covered all the game rules in this article to help you out. Usually, softball games are played between two teams having 9 players each. The goal of each team is to score more runs than their opponents by rounding the bases and crossing the home plates multiple times.
Only a 3 outs per innings rule is implemented here in this Game to make it more interesting. Some softball rules are insignificant and come into play in rare situations. This article will share all the general rules to give you an overview of how things will go. Without further delay, we will share all rules with you.
10 Basic Softball Rules
Following are a few important rules of softball.
- Running the Bases
- 3 Outs per inning
- 3 Strikes Rule
- 4 Ball in a Walk
- 7 Innings in one Game
- 9 Players Per Team
- Underhand throwing of the Ball
- Foul Balls are Softballs — Hit out of Play
- Runners to Stay on Base Path
- Getting Hit by a Pitch means a Free Base
These are the ten important and common rules of the softball sport. Most beginners usually need to pay more attention to these rules. We are going to explain them in detail one-by-one.
Running the Bases
A base is one of the four points on the infield that a batter must touch to score a run. These four bases are named: First base, Second base, Third base and home plate. To score a run, runners must step on each base as they advance from one base to another. Runners must advance bases in anticlockwise order, and they are abiding by to skip around.
Once the runner is deemed safe by home plate — the team is awarded a run. Batters can earn multiple runs on the same play as long as all runners touch each base. Interestingly, runners can advance multiple bases with only one hit. When players stand on a base, they are considered safe and cannot get out unless they get out of the base.
3 Outs per Inning
Every team has been given three outs per inning. The inning is divided into halves, the top half of the inning is for the away team’s batting, and the bottom half is for the home team’s batting.
Here, the out rule is more similar to cricket, as a batter is considered out if the opposing team catches a fly ball, strikes a batter or runs out any of the runners. Three outs — Game over!
3 Strikes Rule
Each striker is allowed only three strikes before they are called out. It is also known as a strikeout, which any batter hates the most. The umpire standing behind the home plate judges whether a pitch is a ball or a strike. A pitch must fall within the strike zone to be considered a strike.
The strike zone is an imaginary area over the home plate between the batter’s knees and the bottom of his shoulders. Moreover, if a batter swings his bat at any pitch thrown and cannot make contact with the Ball, this one automatically becomes a strike too.
4 Ball in a Walk
Another interesting softball rule is if a pitcher throws four balls before getting three strikes or encourages the batter to hit the softball into play, then the batter is awarded first base. If any other runner is already present at first base, he can advance as well.
Usually, balls are pitches that are thrown outside of a batter’s strike zone. For the pitchers, walks are not preferred, and they usually mean longer at bat with more pitches. A walk is referred to as a base on balls.
7 Innings in One Game
A total of 7 innings is played in a softball game, and whichever team scores more runs is considered a winner. Each inning consists of two parts with three outs each.
A total of 6 out in each inning. In case of any tie, at the end of the seventh innings, an extra inning is played to decide the winner, but it all depends on the type of league.
9 Players Per Team
Only nine players per time are allowed in softball. There are a total of nine positions within a softball, and all of the nine players must take up these positions. Moreover, a set batting order for these nine players is necessary. The order is set for each Game and continuously throughout the whole innings.
The most likable rule of softball is that you can add reserve players to your squad and utilize them when you get injured or need a fresh player. Whereas, in slowpitch softball games, a variation of softball rules occurs, as you can play with 10 players per side.
Underhand throwing of the Ball
Unlike in baseball, pitchers in softball must throw the Ball in an underhand motion with the hand below the hip to be considered a legal pitch. Before throwing a pitch, both feet of pitchers must make contact with the pitcher’s plate.
Foul Balls are Softballs — Hit out of Play
Foul balls are any softball you hit out of the playing area. A foul line is drawn with chalk on both sides of the field (left and right). Any ball hit outside of this line is called a foul, so the runners are not allowed to advance on these balls.
If any batter fouls a ball with a couple of strikes, an additional pitch must throw, and the strike count remains the same. The batter gets out if any foul ball is caught without hitting any part of the ground.
Runners to Stay on Base Path
A runner must stay within the designated base bath to avoid getting out while advancing around all four bases. An imaginary straight line is drawn between each base, and runners can run around three feet on either side of the base path.
That provides players with some space to avoid potential tags by fielding players while restricting them only to the base path. The base path is not a set line; the runners create it once they start running towards a base.
Getting Hit by a Pitch means a Free Base
The last and most interesting softball rule is when a batter gets hit by a ball thrown by the pitcher outside the strike zone, and the batter is awarded first base. No matter what the strike or ball count is, it eventually is an automatic base.
Runners on bases are allowed to advance a base if required. Mostly hitting a batter with a pitch is a random act from the pitcher’s side. But if any pitcher hits the batter intentionally, it is considered poor sportsmanship. A batter should always try to avoid being hit by a pitch.
All the rules mentioned above are easy to understand and implement. It would be best to focus on them and read them twice or thrice to emerge as a successful player. Moreover, if you have any questions or confusion regarding any rule, feel free to write back to us. We will get back to you at the earliest.