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Thread: Fastpitch softball coach's guide to scoring a game

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    Administrator Ken Krause's Avatar
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    Default Fastpitch softball coach's guide to scoring a game

    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?



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    It's fun being a dad! left turn's Avatar
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    12U game. Nobody on. Batter jammed and hits a weak fly ball, travelling 30 feet down the third base line, in fair territory by 2 feet. Third baseman pauses before breaking for the ball. Ball grances off her outreached glove. If third baseman breaks for the ball without pausing, it would be an easy out. Hit or error?
    ďNo generalization is wholly true, not even this one.Ē
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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball GOINGDEEP's Avatar
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    From a pitchers view, I see a lot of people making earned run mistakes in stats. You have to reconstruct the inning to get it correct sometimes. Here is a good guide with examples.



    10.16 Earned Runs And Runs Allowed
    An earned run is a run for which a pitcher is held accountable. In determining earned runs, the official scorer shall reconstruct the inning without the errors (which exclude catcher's interference) and passed balls, giving the benefit of the doubt always to the pitcher in determining which bases would have been reached by runners had there been errorless play. For the purpose of determining earned runs, an intentional base on balls, regardless of the circumstances, shall be construed in exactly the same manner as any other base on balls.
    (a) The official scorer shall charge an earned run against a pitcher every time a runner reaches home base by the aid of safe hits, sacrifice bunts, a sacrifice fly, stolen bases, putouts, fielder's choices, bases on balls, hit batters, balks or wild pitches (including a wild pitch on third strike that permits a batter to reach first base) before fielding chances have been offered to put out the offensive team. For the purpose of this rule, a defensive interference penalty shall be construed as a fielding chance. A wild pitch is solely the pitcher's fault and shall contribute to an earned run just as a base on balls or a balk.
    Rule 10.16(a) Comment: The following are examples of earned runs charged to a pitcher:
    (1) Peter pitches and retires Abel and Baker, the first two batters of an inning. Charlie reaches first base on an error charged to a fielder. Daniel hits a home run. Edward hits a home run. Peter retires Frank to end the inning. Three runs have scored, but no earned runs are charged to Peter, because Charlie should have been the third out of the inning, as reconstructed without the error.
    (2) Peter pitches and retires Abel. Baker hits a triple. While pitching to Charlie, Peter throws a wild pitch, allowing Baker to score. Peter retires Daniel and Edward. One run has scored, charged as an earned run to Peter, because the wild pitch contributes to an earned run.
    In an inning in which a batter-runner reaches first base on a catcherís interference, such batter-runner shall not count as an earned run should he subsequently score. The official scorer shall not assume, however, that such batter would have made an out absent the catcherís interference (unlike, for example, situations in which a batter-runner reaches first base safely because of a fielderís misplay of a ball for an error). Because such batter never had a chance to complete his time at bat, it is unknown how such batter would have fared absent the catcherís interference. Compare the following examples:
    (3) With two out, Abel reaches first on an error by the shortstop in misplaying a ground ball. Baker hits a home run. Charlie strikes out. Two runs have scored, but none is earned, because Abelís at-bat should have been the third out of the inning, as reconstructed without the error.
    (4) With two out, Abel reaches first on a catcherís interference. Baker hits a home run. Charlie strikes out. Two runs have scored, but one (Bakerís) is earned, because the official scorer cannot assume that Abel would have made an out to end the inning, absent the catcherís interference.
    (b) No run shall be earned when scored by a runner who reaches first base
    (1) on a hit or otherwise after his time at bat is prolonged by a muffed foul fly;
    (2) because of interference or obstruction; or
    (3) because of any fielding error.
    (c) No run shall be earned when scored by a runner whose presence on the bases is prolonged by an error, if such runner would have been put out by errorless play.
    (d) No run shall be earned when the scoring runner's advance has been aided by an error, a passed ball or defensive interference or obstruction, if in the official scorerís judgment the run would not have scored without the aid of such misplay.
    (e) An error by a pitcher is treated exactly the same as an error by any other fielder in computing earned runs.
    (f) Whenever a fielding error occurs, the pitcher shall be given the benefit of the doubt in determining to which bases any runners would have advanced had the fielding of the defensive team been errorless.
    (g) When pitchers are changed during an inning, the official scorer shall not charge the relief pitcher with any run (earned or unearned) scored by a runner who was on base at the time such relief pitcher entered the game, nor for runs scored by any runner who reaches base on a fielder's choice that puts out a runner left on base by any preceding pitcher.
    Rule 10.16(g) Comment: It is the intent of Rule 10.16(g) to charge each pitcher with the number of runners he put on base, rather than with the individual runners. When a pitcher puts runners on base and is relieved, such pitcher shall be charged with all runs subsequently scored up to and including the number of runners such pitcher left on base when such pitcher left the game, unless such runners are put out without action by the batter (i.e., caught stealing, picked off base or called out for interference when a batter-runner does not reach first base on the play). For example:
    (1) Peter is pitching. Abel reaches first base on a base on balls. Roger relieves Peter. Baker grounds out, advancing Abel to second base. Charlie flies out. Daniel singles, scoring Abel. Abelís run is charged to Peter
    (2) Peter is pitching. Abel reaches first base on a base on balls. Roger relieves Peter. Baker forces Abel at second bases. Charlie grounds out, advancing Baker to second base. Daniel singles, scoring Baker. Bakerís run is charged to Peter.
    (3) Peter is pitching. Abel reaches first base on a base on balls. Roger relieves Peter. Baker singles, advancing Abel to third base. Charlie grounds to short, with Abel out at home plate and Baker advancing to second base. Daniel flies out. Edward singles, scoring Baker. Bakerís run is charged to Peter.
    (4) Peter is pitching. Abel reaches first base on a base on balls. Roger relieves Peter. Baker reaches on a base on balls. Charlie flies out. Abel is picked off second base. Daniel doubles, scoring Baker from first base. Bakerís run is charged to Roger.
    (5) Peter is pitching. Abel reaches first base on a base on balls. Roger relieves Peter. Baker reaches first base on a base on balls. Sierra relieves Roger. Charlie forces Abel at third base. Daniel forces Baker at third base. Edward hits a home run, scoring three runs. The official scorer shall charge one run to Peter, one run to Roger and one run to Sierra.
    (6) Peter is pitching. Abel reaches first base on a base on balls. Roger relieves Peter. Baker reaches first base on a base on balls. Charlie singles, filling the bases. Daniel forces Abel at home plate. Edward singles, scoring Baker and Charlie. The official scorer shall charge one run to Peter and one run to Roger.
    (7) Peter is pitching. Abel reaches first base on a base on balls. Roger relieves Peter. Baker singles, but Abel is out trying to reach third base and Baker advances to second base on the throw. Charlie singles, scoring Baker. Bakerís run is charged to Roger.
    (h) A relief pitcher shall not be held accountable when the first batter to whom he pitches reaches first base on four called balls if such batter has a decided advantage in the ball and strike count when pitchers are changed.
    (1) If, when pitchers are changed, the count is
    2 balls, no strike,
    2 balls, 1 strike,
    3 balls, no strike,
    3 balls, 1 strike,
    3 balls, 2 strikes,
    and the batter gets a base on balls, the official scorer shall charge that batter and the base on balls to the preceding pitcher, not to the relief pitcher.
    (2) Any other action by such batter, such as reaching base on a hit, an error, a fielder's choice, a force-out, or being touched by a pitched ball, shall cause such a batter to be charged to the relief pitcher.
    Rule 10.16(h) Comment: The provisions of Rule 10.16(h)(2) shall not be construed as affecting or conflicting with the provisions of Rule 10.16(g).
    (3) If, when pitchers are changed, the count is
    2 balls, 2 strikes,
    1 ball, 2 strikes,
    1 ball, 1 strike,
    1 ball, no strike,
    no ball, 2 strikes,
    no ball, 1 strike,
    the official scorer shall charge that batter and the actions of that batter to the relief pitcher.
    (i) When pitchers are changed during an inning, the relief pitcher shall not have the benefit of previous chances for outs not accepted in determining earned runs.
    Rule 10.16(i) Comment: It is the intent of Rule 10.16(i) to charge a relief pitcher with earned runs for which such relief pitcher is solely responsible. In some instances, runs charged as earned against the relief pitcher can be charged as unearned against the team. For example:
    (1) With two out and Peter pitching, Abel reaches first base on a base on balls. Baker reaches first base on an error. Roger relieves Peter. Charlie hits a home run, scoring three runs. The official scorer shall charge two unearned runs to Peter, one earned run to Roger and three unearned runs to the team (because the inning should have ended with the third out when Baker batted and an error was committed).
    (2) With two out, and Peter pitching, Abel and Baker each reach first base on a base on balls. Roger relieves Peter. Charlie reaches first base on an error. Daniel hits a home run, scoring four runs. The official scorer shall charge two unearned runs to Peter and two unearned runs to Roger (because the inning should have ended with the third out when Charlie batted and an error was committed).

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    left turn (05-07-2012)

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball GOINGDEEP's Avatar
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    3) With none out and Peter pitching, Abel reaches first base on a base on balls. Baker reaches first base on an error. Roger relieves Peter. Charlie hits a home run, scoring three runs. Daniel and Edward strike out. Frank reaches first base on an error. George hits a home run, scoring two runs. The official scorer shall charge two runs, one of them earned, to Peter, three runs, one of them earned, to Roger and five runs, two of them earned, to the team (because only Abel and Charlie would have scored in an inning reconstructed without the errors).

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball GOINGDEEP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by left turn View Post
    12U game. Nobody on. Batter jammed and hits a weak fly ball, travelling 30 feet down the third base line, in fair territory by 2 feet. Third baseman pauses before breaking for the ball. Ball grances off her outreached glove. If third baseman breaks for the ball without pausing, it would be an easy out. Hit or error?
    10.05 Base Hits
    A base hit is a statistic credited to a batter when such batter reaches base safely, as set forth in this Rule 10.05.
    (a) The official scorer shall credit a batter with a base hit when:
    (1) the batter reaches first base (or any succeeding base) safely on a fair ball that settles on the ground, that touches a fence before being touched by a fielder or that clears a fence;
    (2) the batter reaches first base safely on a fair ball hit with such force, or so slowly, that any fielder attempting to make a play with the ball has no opportunity to do so;
    Rule 10.05(a)(2) Comment: The official scorer shall credit a hit if the fielder attempting to handle the ball cannot make a play, even if such fielder deflects the ball from or cuts off another fielder who could have put out a runner.
    (3) the batter reaches first base safely on a fair ball that takes an unnatural bounce so that a fielder cannot handle it with ordinary effort, or that touches the pitcher's plate or any base (including home plate) before being touched by a fielder and bounces so that a fielder cannot handle the ball with ordinary effort;
    (4) the batter reaches first base safely on a fair ball that has not been touched by a fielder and that is in fair territory when the ball reaches the outfield, unless in the scorer's judgment the ball could have been handled with ordinary effort;
    (5) a fair ball that has not been touched by a fielder touches a runner or an umpire, unless a runner is called out for having been touched by an Infield Fly, in which case the official scorer shall not score a hit; or
    (6) a fielder unsuccessfully attempts to put out a preceding runner and, in the official scorer's judgment, the batter-runner would not have been put out at first base by ordinary effort.
    Rule 10.05(a) Comment: In applying Rule 10.05(a), the official scorer shall always give the batter the benefit of the doubt. A safe course for the official scorer to follow is to score a hit when exceptionally good fielding of a ball fails to result in a putout.
    (b) The official scorer shall not credit a base hit when a:
    (1) runner is forced out by a batted ball, or would have been forced out except for a fielding error;
    (2) batter apparently hits safely and a runner who is forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner fails to touch the first base to which such runner is advancing and is called out on appeal. The official scorer shall charge the batter with a time at bat but no hit;
    (3) pitcher, the catcher or any infielder handles a batted ball and puts out a preceding runner who is attempting to advance one base or to return to his original base, or would have put out such runner with ordinary effort except for a fielding error. The official scorer shall charge the batter with a time at bat but no hit;
    (4) fielder fails in an attempt to put out a preceding runner and, in the scorer's judgment, the batter-runner could have been put out at first base; or
    Rule 10.05(b) Comment: Rule 10.05(b) shall not apply if the fielder merely looks toward or feints toward another base before attempting to make the putout at first base.
    (5) runner is called out for interference with a fielder attempting to field a batted ball, unless in the scorer's judgment the batter-runner would have been safe had the interference not occurred.

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    It's fun being a dad! left turn's Avatar
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    Thanks GOINGDEEP. Referring to the short pop fly down the third base line and the below passage, the third baseman would be charged with an error because she could have easily made the play with ordinary effort.

    "(a) (4) the batter reaches first base safely on a fair ball that has not been touched by a fielder and that is in fair territory when the ball reaches the outfield, unless in the scorer's judgment the ball could have been handled with ordinary effort;"
    ďNo generalization is wholly true, not even this one.Ē
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    Ex "Expert" Cannonball's Avatar
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    Here is one scored as an error on my dd. Go ahead run on 2nd and runner on 1st 6th inning. Bunt to 3rd and DD is covering 1st but is 1st baseman. 3B fields ball and throws it in the dirt but hard in dirt about 8 feet short of 1st and it will skip two times. DD dives in front of ball and blocks like a catcher and throw is borderline for what she can stretch for. Blocks ball and prevents run. Team will get out of inning and eventually win in 7th. After game, dd leans she is given an error. I still can't understand that decision. Was told that she gave up the base.
    My opinions here are simply that, My Opinions. I'm an ex expert. I no longer care to have to be right.

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball chinamigarden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by left turn View Post
    12U game. Nobody on. Batter jammed and hits a weak fly ball, travelling 30 feet down the third base line, in fair territory by 2 feet. Third baseman pauses before breaking for the ball. Ball grances off her outreached glove. If third baseman breaks for the ball without pausing, it would be an easy out. Hit or error?
    do you like her?

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    It's fun being a dad! left turn's Avatar
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    Yes. She's terrific. Not a good inning for her though. She was tentative and slow to respond to two batted balls. Quite uncharacteristic.
    ďNo generalization is wholly true, not even this one.Ē
    Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935) U.S. Supreme Court Justice

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    Administrator Ken Krause's Avatar
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    Left Turn, I think Chinamigarden was making a joke based on the original blog post. And yes, I'd give her an error too.
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