How do innings work in baseball

How baseball works: the rules


Baseball and the female variant softball are celebrating a comeback at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Why is? How does baseball work? The rules at a glance.

The rules in baseball and softball are largely identical. The playing field in baseball resembles a quarter circle (Fair Territory) with 90 to 120 meter long side lines. The area outside of these sidelines is foul territory. The tip of the quarter circle fills the infield, a square standing on a corner with a side length of about 27 meters. At the corners of the infield are the home plate (below) and three bases (right, above, left). The field in softball is smaller, it is two thirds of the field in baseball.

Each team attacked nine times

The game is played in nine innings (Sofball: seven). That means: Each team is once in attack and once in defense per inning. On the defensive, there are nine players on the field, including the pitcher. The offensive players come to the bat in a certain order (batting order).

The inning is always opened by the visiting team. Whoever has the most points after nine innings is the winner. If there is a tie after nine innings, there is an extra inning until a winner is determined.

Duel between thrower and batsman

Baseball is primarily the duel between the pitcher and the batsman (hitter or batter). The pitcher tries to throw the ball in such a way that it is not hit by the batsman. If the batter swings past or lets the ball pass within a certain zone (the area between chest and knee height and the width of the home plate), he receives a strike. A hit into foul territory is also counted as a strike, but not if the hitter has already received two strikes.

Three strikes mean the strikeout. If the ball does not pass the strike zone without the batsman swinging, it is recorded as a ball. After four balls, the hitter gets a walk and is allowed to go to first base.

In softball, the ball is bigger than in baseball. Another difference: the players have to throw it in the direction of the batter with an underhand throw.

A run around the infield is worth one point

After a stroke from home plate, the racket tries to run off as many bases as possible in a counter-clockwise direction. If the infield is circled once, even in stages, the attacking team receives one point. The defense has several options for putting an opponent out of action.

When is a player out?

A player is out in the following cases:

  • If he receives three strikes -> strikeout
  • If the struck ball is caught straight out of the air by a defensive player -> Fly Out
  • When the defensive throws the ball to first base before the batsman reaches it. The first baseman must touch the base at the moment of catching -> Ground Out
  • If a runner is touched with the ball by a defensive player between the bases -> Tag Out

It is possible for the defenders to take care of two - or in very rare cases - even three offensive players within a defensive action. The most common "double play" happens when a runner is on first base and the batsman hits the ball badly, so that an out is recorded at second base and first base.

Many tactical variants

The most spectacular way to score is on the home run, when the hitter hits the ball over the edge of the field. Then all players who are already on base and the batsman himself may circle the bases and score.

Overall, baseball is a very tactical game. This applies to the defensive (where do the defenders position themselves? Which pitcher is in action when?), But also for the offensive. Here it is important to determine the optimal stroke sequence and to score points with skillful base running.

For example, when does a player try to "steal" a base by running off the pitcher's throw without waiting for the stroke? How skilfully do the hitters behave at the stroke? When is it advisable not to land the big hit, but just put the ball into play?

Actions that seem unspectacular at first glance can have a big impact. Variability and a good balance between offensive, defensive and pitching are crucial for success.