What Are the Ten Softball Positions by Number?
Many of softball's most thrilling plays can be summed up in numbers, the 6-4-3 double play, the 9-2 throw out, and the 5-4-3 triple play. But what do these numbers mean? Those numbers aren't tied to the numbers on the players' jerseys or the batting order -- they're a numbering system typically used to keep score during the game. Every defensive position has a matching number that can be used to tell who did what on any given play
What are the numbers for pitcher and catcher?
The pitcher and catcher form the battery in softball and every play starts with a pitch to the catcher. The pitcher is No. 1 and the catcher is No. 2. If a batter hits a ground ball back to the pitcher's mound with the bases loaded and the pitcher throws it to the catcher for a force play at home plate, the scorekeeper writes down "1-2". This indicates in the scorebook that the pitcher fielded the ground ball and the catcher recorded the out at home plate.
What are the numbers for infielders?
A defense in softball includes four infielders. They are the first baseman, second baseman, shortstop, and third baseman. The first baseman is No. 3. The second baseman goes by No. 4. The third baseman is No. 5 and the shortstop is No. 6. If the batter hits a ground ball to the shortstop and they throw the ball to first base, the scorer writes down "6-3" in the scorebook if the throw results in an out. If a runner is on first base and a ground ball is hit to third base, the third baseman would throw to second base to get the lead runner and the second baseman throws to first to try to get the double play. If that play was successful, the scorer writes down "5-4-3" in the scorebook. By using multiple numbers, it shows the sequence of the throws in the play to get the double play.
What are the numbers for the outfielders?
The traditional outfielders in softball play left field, center field and right field. The left fielder is designated by the No. 7, the center fielder is No. 8 and the right fielder is No. 9. If the batter hits a fly ball to the center fielder and she catches it, the scorekeeper would write down "8" in the scorebook to designate that the center fielder caught the fly ball and an out was recorded without the assistance of another player on defense. If a batted ball is hit to the left fielder and they throw out a runner at second, that would be scored as a "7-4" throw out.
What is the number for an extra fielder?
In some softball leagues, an extra fielder is allowed on the field. An extra fielder in softball normally plays in the outfield. That fielding position is designated by the No. 10. In most cases, the coach will split the field into four equal areas (Left, Left Center, Right Center, Right) and place each fielder in one space. In some cases, the extra fielder will play in short center field while the traditional center fielder plays much deeper. The coach can position the extra fielder anywhere on the field. The rules of the game of softball state that all defensive players other than the catcher must be in fair territory, which gives the coach the right to position the extra fielder anywhere they choose.
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.