Mom's Guide to Softball
Learn The Lingo

Learn The Lingo!

Bases Loaded - Term for when there are runners on first, second, and third base.

Batter's Box - The rectangular areas on either side of home plate where players stand when batting.

Beaned - When a batter is hit in the head by a pitch. Anytime a batter is hit by a pitch, he or she advances to first base.

Bunt - A batter uses a partial swing to gently hit the ball into the infield in an attempt to outrun a throw to first base and/or advance a base runner.

The Count - The number of balls and strikes against a batter. Three balls and two strikes is called a “full count.”

Diamond - Another name for the infield, derived from the diamond shape formed by the three bases and home plate.

Double Play - Occurs when the fielding team puts out two base runners in one play.

Error - When a fielder misplays or makes a poor throw on a batted ball, allowing a batter or runners to advance on the bases.

Force Play - Occurs when a batter hits a fair ball and runs to first base forcing a base runner directly ahead of him or her to run to the next base. In this situation, an infielder holding the softball need only tag the base ahead of a runner in order to get him or her out.

Foul Tip - A foul ball that is lightly tipped.

Fly Ball - A ball hit high in the air past the infield.

Grand Slam - A home run with the bases loaded. Four runs are scored.

Ground Rule Double - When a fair ball either bounces over a home run fence or rolls out of play. The batter gets an automatic double.

Grounder - A ball batted on the ground.

Infield Fly Rule - A batter is automatically called out if he or she pops the ball up in the infield when base runners are on first and second with fewer than two outs. It is enforced regardless of whether or not the ball is caught.

Lineup - The order in which players bat.

On Deck - The batting player next up to the plate in the batting lineup.

Pitching Plate - The rubber plate in the center of the diamond. The pitcher must stand with both feet on the pitching plate when starting his or her wind-up.

Pop-up - A ball hit straight up in the air.

Run Down - Happens when fielders, throwing the ball to one another, trap a base runner between two bases and chase him or her down for the tag out.

Runs Batted In (or RBI) - Credited to the player who brings home a base runner as a result of his or her turn at bat. It can occur with a hit, a walk with the bases loaded, a “sacrifice,” and sometimes an out - if the out leads to a run.

Sacrifice - Describes when a batter manages to advance a base runner to the next base with a bunt attempt or a fly ball. Though he or she is out, the batter has put his or her teammate in a better scoring position for the next batter.

Safe - Called by the umpire when a runner successfully reaches a base.

Slide - To avoid being tagged out on close fielding plays, the runner will often dive headfirst or feetfirst into the base.

Strike Zone - The area above home plate from under the batter’s shoulders to the top of his or her knees.

Tagging Up - Once a fly ball has been caught by an outfielder, a runner may tag his or her base and try to run to the next base before the ball is thrown there.

Walk (or Base-on-Balls) - If a batter is pitched four balls in his or her turn at bat he or she advances to first base.


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