In talking to some of my fastpitch softball students and former players in the past few weeks it seems like there is a lot of confusion among coaches as to how to score a game. In particular, I'm hearing some very interesting interpretations as to what is a hit versus what is an error.
So, as a public service to those who don't seem to quite get it (or who are making up their own rules as they go along), I offer the following guide. This ought to clarify things, and make it easier for them to keep an honest book that tells them how their players are actually doing -- good and bad. You're welcome.
- Ball is hit solidly without coming close to a defense player -- should be scored as a hit.
- Ball is hit solidly by a kid you don't like without coming close to a defensive player -- that is still a hit.
- Ground ball goes through a fielder's legs without being touched -- that is an error because it should be an out.
- Hard-hit ground ball is not fielded cleanly by an infielder -- should be scored an error, even if it took a tough hop.
- Hard-hit ground ball is not fielded cleanly by your favorite infielder -- should still be scored an error. I am shocked at how many coaches seem to be scoring that as a hit in order to pump up the stats of their favorite players.
- Hard-hit ground ball goes one foot to the left or right of an infielder who is too lazy to make an effort to get the ball -- seems like it should be an error, but technically it is a hit. You may want to consider replacing that player, though, because any halfway decent infielder should be able to field a ball hit one foot to either side of them. Just sayin'.
- Hard line drive hit just to the side of an infielder, who sticks her glove out and has it torn off, not making the catch -- score that one a hit, regardless of whether you like that player or not.
- Fly ball hit to an outfielder is caught -- not an error, even if you didn't like the way she caught it.
- Fly ball hit pretty much right to an outfielder, who lets the ball glance off her glove or drop right in front of or behind her -- those are errors.
- Fly ball hit pretty much right to the outfielder who babysits your kids for free so you and your spouse can go to dinner, who lets the ball glance off her glove or drop right in front of her behind her -- still an error.
- Ball hit to the outfield, and your outfielder makes a diving attempt to catch the ball but doesn't quite make it -- is a hit.
- Ball hit to the outfield, and an outfielder you don't like makes a diving attempt to catch the ball but doesn't quite make it -- still a hit. Only a complete jerk would score that an error.
- Pitch bounces two feet in front of catcher and goes all the way to the screen because she couldn't be bothered to use good blocking technique -- that is a passed ball.
- Pitch bounces a foot or two to the left or right of the catcher and goes all the way to the screen because she couldn't be bothered to use good blocking technique -- that is also a passed ball.
- Pitch bounces on the ground and hits the outside line of the batter's box, getting by your catcher who tried to throw herself in front of the ball to stop it -- wild pitch.
- Pitch sails in three feet over the head of the umpire and goes to the screen -- wild pitch.
- Throw from an infielder goes into the dirt and wide at first; your first baseman tries to get it but can't make it -- throwing error.
- Throw from an infielder pulls person covering the base off the bag, thus losing the force -- throwing error.
- Throw from an infielder you love pulls your least favorite player off the base she's covering, thus losing the force -- still a throwing error.
- Perfect throw from fielder is dropped by person covering the base -- error on the receiver.
- Perfect throw from fielder you don't like is dropped by your favorite player, who is covering the base -- error on the receiver (detecting a pattern here?).
I think that covers it. But may not. Anyone have any more situations like this to add to the list?