Softball Glossary

Softball comes with lots of words and phrases that you may have never heard before. To help make the game easier to understand, we've provided this glossary of softball terms. Hopefully this helps you understand everything you hear on the field!


ASA : Amateur Softball Association.

Ball : A pitch that is not a strike. If a batter gets four balls, they are awarded first base.

Baseline : This is the line that is marked with chalk that connects or runs between each base and the line that runners should generally run along. Runners cannot run more than three feet off the baseline.

Base on Balls : Also referred to as a walk. This occurs when a batter is awarded first base after she has taken four pitches out of the strike zone.

Base Coach : A coach that stands in the coache's box at first or third base to direct the batter and the runners.

Base Runner : A batter who has gotten on base.

Batter's Box : The space to which a batter is confined while up to bat. There is a batter's box on each side of the plate; each box is 7 feet long and 3 feet wide. The lines that outline the area are considered part of the batter's box.

Batting Order : The official order in which offensive players must hit. Once submitted, the order cannot change, though players can be skipped with or without penalty.

Bunt : A batted ball not swung at, but tapped intentionally within the infield. Bunts are often used to advance base runners (aka Sacrifice Bunt).

Catcher's Box : The area behind the plate where the catcher must remain until after the pitch is released.

Changeup : A slower, off-speed pitch used to establish variety and to confuse a batter expected to be looking for a faster pitch.

Checked Swing : A half swing at a pitch where the batter is able to stop the swing before they fully extend their wrist. If a batter "breaks" his wrist then it is a swing.

Crow Hop : An illegal action where a pitcher will step off or hop off the front of the pitchers plate, then will replant their pivot foot and then throw the ball.

Cut Off Person : One one fielder throws the ball to another player (the cut off player) and then she relays the ball to another player. This is usually an outfielder throwing to an infielder who then throws to a third player.

Dead Ball : The ball is no longer in play. Play has been stopped for some reason and until play resumes, the ball is dead.

Defensive Team : The defensive team is the team in the outfield attempting to prevent the offensive team from scoring.

Double Play : A play where two offensive players are legally put out due to continuous action.

Dropped Third Strike : A rule whereby a batter is allowed to run to first base (or further) if the catcher drops the ball after a third strike. The batter immediately becomes a runner once the ball is dropped, so the catcher must either tag the player out or throw the ball to first to get the player out on a force at first base. If there is one out in the inning, first base must be empty in order for this rule to apply. If there are two outs, first base may be occupied and the rule will still apply.

Fair Ball : A batted ball is considered fair if it lands anywhere in fair territory or is touched by a fielder or runner anywhere in fair territory, unless it rolls or bounces into foul territory prior to reaching first or third base and is touched by a fielder or runner before re-entering fair territory. A ball that bounces on, over or inside first or third base is considered fair, even if it proceeds into foul territory beyond the base.

Fair Territory : The part of the playing field within and including the first and third baselines from home plate to the fence.

Force Out : An out that occurs when a runner must advance to the next base on a batted ball. In a force out, the fielder is not required to tag the runner but must simply tag or step on the base to which the runner is attempting to advance.

Foul Ball : A batted ball is considered foul if it settles on foul territory between home and first or home and third; bounds past first or third on/over foul territory; lands in foul territory anywhere beyond first or third; is touched by a fielder or runner while on/over foul territory ; touches a batter within the batter's box; or leaves the playing field while in foul territory.

Foul Tip : A batted ball that goes directly from the bat to the catcher's hands and does not rise higher than the batter's head. If a foul tip occurs after two strikes, it is considered the third strike.

Infield Fly Rule : If a team is batting with less than two outs and has runners on first and second, or the bases are loaded, the infield fly rule is applied if a ball is hit into the air -- excluding line drives and bunts -- and could be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort. In this case, if the ball is fair, the batter is automatically out. An infield fly is consider "alive," so runners may advance at the risk of the ball being caught.

Inning : The portion of a game within which the teams alternate on offense and defense, and where there are three outs for each team. A new inning begins immediately after the final out of the previous inning.

Interference : When an offensive player prevents a defensive player from executing a play.

Offensive Team : The team or player at bat.

Passed Ball : A pitch that should have been caught by the catcher but was not.

Pitcher's Circle : A circular area drawn onto the field, with a radius of 8 feet from the pitching rubber.

Strike Zone : A space directly over home plate between the batter's armpits and the top of her knees, when the batter assumes her natural batting stance.

Tagging Up : This is when a base runner waits for an outfielder to catch a fly ball and then leaves the base she is standing on to move to the next base. The base runner can't leave the base she is standing on before the outfielder catches the ball. If he leaves the base early then the defensive team can throw the ball back to the base she just left, step on the base and the runner will be called out.

Wild Pitch : A pitched ball that cannot be caught by the catcher with ordinary effort.

Source : Beijing Olympics 2008 Inside Softball | Fuzilogik Softball Glossary







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