Between the batter’s shoulders and knees is the strike zone. The umpire signals a “strike” when the batter:
- swings at a pitch that crosses the plate in the strike zone without swinging.
- misses a pitch with a swing.
- With fewer than two strikes against him, he smacks the ball out of bounds.
- He’s out after three strikes, and the next batter takes his place at the plate.
On a foul ball, a batsman cannot strike out. There is no limit to the number of foul balls he can hit if he has two strikes. He can only strike out if he hits a swinging strike or fails to swing at a ball in the strike zone.
A “ball” is a pitch that crosses the plate beyond the strike zone and is not struck by the batter. If a batter is hit by four pitches, he is entitled to a walk to first base. A batter is called for a strike if he swings at a ball outside the strike zone and misses.
When a batter becomes a runner, he or she must:
- He runs to first base after hitting a ball in fair territory.
- After four balls, he takes a walk.
- He’s struck by a pitch.
- The third strike is dropped by the catcher. (If the batter receives his third strike but the catcher misses the ball, the batter may attempt to beat the ball to first base.)
If the ball is overthrown or if a wild pitch is thrown, a runner can advance to the next base.
When a runner hits the ball, he may overrun first base as long as he turns out of bounds after passing the base. Runners are not allowed to go over any other base. They are out if they do so and are tagged while off the base.
A standard game lasts 9 innings. Each inning is divided into a top and bottom half with each team having a turn at bat.
The visiting team bats the first half (or top) of each inning, and the home team bats the second half (or bottom) of the inning.
When the batting team gets three outs, the half inning is over. If the score is still tied after nine innings, extra innings are played until a winner is determined.
If the home team leads entering the bottom of the ninth inning, there is usually no need for them to come up to bat, hence the game is usually called.
Scores in baseball
The winning team is the one that scores the most runs. A run is scored when a base runner rounds all of the bases by stepping on them in order from first to third to home plate.
It is considered a home run if the ball is hit over the outfield fence in fair territory, and the batter has a free trip all the way around the bases until he reaches home plate.