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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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on May 6, 2012, in Coaching. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Bases loaded ball is hit up the middle just left of 2nd base the runner at second runs the base path and bumps the SS because she runs into the base path, all runners are safe, run scores. The Coach ask for interference on the play and is awarded the out. Is this a hit, the umpire told me that this is a hit and the runner was ruled out after the play. Let me know if that is the right call. I believe that it is

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  2. Sorry it took so long to respond. Not sure on that one, but I would think it’s a fielder’s choice. The implication of the interference is had it not occurred there would’ve been an out somewhere.

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  3. The umpire called a player out for leaving third base too soon. I asked after the game how I should score the out and he said he didn’t know and sent me to the rule book. I still can’t figure it out. Looks like a dead ball call but how do I score the out? is there a running error out?

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  4. If you are using a paper book, I would mark an X at the base, the same as you would if the runner was doubled off. It is a dead ball out. If you’re using iScore or Game Changer, they should have a choice for “left base early.”

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  5. Here’s a scoring question: Batter has a count of 3-2. Batter hits a hits a high pop up in foul territory by first base. 1st baseman waves everyone off, then drops the ball. This is now an error on the 1st baseman, but the count remains 3-2. The next pitch is a ball, so the batter proceeds to first base. I score it a walk. The father of the pitcher says it needs to be scored an E3. While I see a (weak) case for that being an unearned run if the girl on first scores, I cannot believe that this would not be a standard base on balls. Am I wrong?

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  6. No, you are correct. You can charge the first baseman with an error for statistical purposes, but that doesn’t affect whatever occurs next. Ball four results in a walk regardless of how you got there. Just as if the batter had hit the ball you would score it a hit.

    What it does affect is earned runs. If, after the dropped pop-up, any runners who are on base score after a subsequent play (forced in, driven in by a hit, etc.) those runs are not charged to the pitcher since she should have been out of the inning already.

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  7. Yes, I have another one. Your favorite hindcatcher drops the 3rd strike and allows the batter to get to first!! Still a k for the pitcher you don’t really like and should be a passed ball on your favorite catcher!!

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