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Softball Scoring Rules

Scoring a softball game gives a coach or a manager a clear idea of how his team performed. Strikes, hits, walks, runs, outs and fielding errors are all recorded, using a system that designates how actions took place.

Scoring System Setup

In the scorebook, the official scorer records the names of players in the batting lineup for each team. All players in the field are given a number that is used to record plays. Those numbers are: 1 -- pitcher; 2 -- catcher; 3 -- 1st base; 4 -- 2nd base; 5 -- 3rd base; 6 -- shortstop; 7 -- left field; 8 -- center field; 9 -- right field; 10 -- extra outfielder.

Recording Actions

As players come to bat in each inning, the scorer records the batter's performance. For instance, if the first batter hits a ground ball to shortstop and is thrown out at first, the play in the score book would read "6-3." The hitter's progress around the bases is kept by marking marks on a diamond shape in the scorebook. A single hit is designated with a mark from the bottom of the diamond to the point on the right. If the batter hits a double, a line is traced from the bottom point to the right point and then up to the top point. A triple hit is designated by continuing the line to the left point. If the batter makes a run, the diamond is colored in solid.

Scoring Decisions

The official scorer decides whether a ball hit by the batter or any play in the field is a hit or an error. In many cases, it is a fairly straightforward decision. A player hits a ground ball to third base, the ball hits the third baseman's glove and bounces away and the batter is safe at first base. That's an error on the third baseman. If the batter hits a ball between the shortstop and third baseman and the shortstop picks the ball up and the batter beats the throw to first base, that's a hit. However, some plays can be more difficult. An outfielder may run a long distance, dive for the ball and hit her glove as she lays out but not catch it. The official scorer must decide whether that play is a hit or an error.

Changing Decisions

If the official scorer rules a specific play as a hit or an error and the team impacted by the decision has a strong disagreement, the party impacted may appeal the decision and ask that the play be reconsidered. The official scorer will have 24 hours to reconsider and make changes in the scoring or keep the call the same. The official scorer must inform all parties if the official call is changed following such an appeal.

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About the Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

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