How to Keep Score in Softball

Softball is played by millions of people around the world, from organized leagues to casual backyard games, making it an inclusive and accessible sport for players of all ages and skill levels. Keeping score in softball is an essential aspect of the game. It not only helps teams and players track their performance but also provides valuable information for coaches, fans, and even statisticians.

Unlock the secrets of the game with our comprehensive guide on how to keep score in softball?. You’re a player, coach, or enthusiastic fan, understanding the art of scoring in softball is your key to unraveling the game’s intricate web of runs, hits, and strategic maneuvers.

Embark on a journey to the world of softball, where every pitch, hit, and play counts. While scoring in softball may seem daunting at first, with practice and understanding of the rules, it becomes a manageable task. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the basics of keeping score in softball, from understanding the scoring system to the intricacies of notation.

Understanding the Scoring System

Before delving into the specifics of scorekeeping, it’s crucial to grasp the fundamentals of the scoring system in softball. The primary objective of the game is to score runs by advancing players around the bases. A run is scored when a player successfully crosses home plate. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.

here’s a table summarizing the key components of “Understanding the Scoring System in Softball”:

InningsThe standard game consists of seven innings.
RunsPoints scored when a player crosses home plate.
OutsRecorded when a batter fails to reach base safely.
Hits and ErrorsHits for well-struck balls, errors for mistakes.
Earned RunsRuns scored without fielding errors or mistakes.

This table provides a quick reference for the core elements of the scoring system in softball.

Here are some key terms and concepts to understand:


A standard softball game consists of seven innings in softball for most levels of play. Each team takes turns batting and fielding. An inning is complete when both teams have had their turn at bat.


Runs are the basic unit of scoring in softball. A run is scored when a player safely reaches home plate. The team with the most runs wins the game.


An out is recorded when a batter fails to reach a base before being tagged or when a fielder successfully catches a batted ball before it touches the ground. A team has three outs per inning when they are on defense, and they switch to the batting side after recording three outs.

Hits and Errors

Hits are credited to batters when they safely reach base due to a well-struck ball. Errors are charged to fielders when they make mistakes that allow a batter to reach base safely.

Earned Runs

Earned runs are runs that are scored without the aid of fielding errors or other defensive mistakes. This statistic helps assess a pitcher’s performance.

The Scorecard

To keep score in softball, you’ll need a scorecard, which is typically a printed sheet with a grid of boxes and rows. Each team’s scorecard is divided into two sections, one for the home team and one for the visiting team. These sections mirror each other, as both teams take turns batting and playing defense.


In this sample table:

  • “Home” and “Visitor” represent the two competing teams.
  • Each row under “Player” lists the players’ names or jersey numbers.
  • The columns represent the innings of the game, from the 1st inning to the 7th inning.
  • The numbers in the cells indicate the runs scored by each team in the respective inning. For instance, the Home team scored 2 runs in the 1st inning.

This table offers a visual representation of the game’s progression, showing how runs are scored in each inning for both teams.

Player Names and Numbers

At the top of the scorecard, list the players’ names and jersey numbers for both teams. Ensure that you have the correct lineup for the game, as players may have different positions.

Columns for Inning

The scorecard will have columns labeled with the inning numbers. These columns represent each inning of the game, up to seven innings.


It’s important to be familiar with scoring abbreviations, such as “K” for strikeouts, “BB” for walks, and “1B,” “2B,” and “3B” for singles, doubles, and triples, respectively.

Scoring Symbols

Use various symbols to indicate plays and events in the game. For example, a “1” may be used to represent a single, and an “E” may denote an error.

How to Keep Score

How to keep score

Now that you understand the scoring system and have your scorecard ready, it’s time to learn how to keep score in a softball game.

Scoring Runs

When a player scores a run, you will record it on the scorecard. Write the player’s jersey number in the box corresponding to the inning they scored the run. If multiple players score in the same inning, record each run next to their respective jersey numbers.

Scoring Hits

To record hits, use abbreviations like “1B” for singles, “2B” for doubles, and “3B” for triples. Write the hitter’s jersey number next to the appropriate abbreviation in the box for the inning. If a batter hits a home run, you can simply write “HR.”

Scoring Outs

Mark each out in the inning as it happens. Common notations for outs include “K” for strikeouts, “P” for pop-outs, and the fielder’s jersey number who caught a fly ball or tagged a runner. You can also indicate groundouts and fly outs.

Scoring Errors

When an error occurs, record it on the scorecard by placing an “E” in the box for the inning in which the error happened. Note the fielder’s jersey number who committed the error.

Pitch Count

Keeping track of the pitch count is essential for coaches and pitchers. Some scorecards include a section for recording the number of pitches thrown by each pitcher. This information can help manage a pitcher’s workload and evaluate their performance.

Defensive Positions

Keep a record of where players are positioned on defense during each inning. You can use numbers (e.g., “1” for pitcher, “2” for catcher) to denote the positions. This information helps track player rotations and substitutions.

Scoring Examples

Let’s walk through a couple of examples to illustrate how to keep score in a softball game:

Example 1: A Single Run

In the top of the first inning, the visiting team’s leadoff batter, who wears jersey number 7, hits a single (1B). In the bottom of the first inning, the home team’s cleanup hitter, jersey number 12, hits a home run (HR). Here’s how you would score these events:

Top 1st: 7 (1B)
Bottom 1st: 12 (HR)

This represents the run and hit scored in the respective innings.

Example 2: Defensive Plays

In the top of the third inning, the visiting team’s pitcher, jersey number 5, strikes out two batters and forces a pop-out to the first baseman, jersey number 3. Here’s how you would score these events:

Top 3rd: 5 (K), 5 (K), 3 (P)

This notation indicates the three outs recorded in the inning, including the strikeouts and the pop-out.

Tips for Effective Scorekeeping

Keeping an accurate and well-organized scorecard is crucial to capture the game’s essence and statistics. Here are some tips to help you become a proficient scorekeeper:

Stay Focused

Pay close attention to every pitch and play. Softball is a fast-paced game, and missing even one play can lead to inaccuracies in your scorecard.

Use a Pencil

Always use a pencil to keep score. Mistakes can happen, and pencils allow you to erase and make corrections as needed.

Cross-Check with Others

If possible, cross-check your scorecard with another scorekeeper during the game to ensure accuracy.

Know the Rules

Familiarize yourself with the rules of softball. This includes understanding how to score various plays, like sacrifices and stolen bases.

Stay Neutral

As a scorekeeper, maintain impartiality. You are responsible for accurately recording the game, so avoid showing favoritism to either team.


Practice makes perfect. The more you score games, the better you’ll become at tracking events and understanding the nuances of softball scorekeeping.

Stay Organized

Keep your scorecard neat and organized. A well-kept scorecard is easier to review and analyze after the game.

Be Patient

Don’t get discouraged if you make mistakes or find scorekeeping challenging at first. With time and practice, you’ll improve your skills.

Common Scoring Situations

In addition to basic scorekeeping, it

‘s helpful to understand how to score some common situations and events that may arise during a softball game.

Sacrifice Bunt

When a batter successfully executes a sacrifice bunt, move the runners but mark the batter as out. For example, if a runner on first base advances to second due to a sacrifice bunt, write “1-4” in the box to represent the play.

Stolen Base

When a runner successfully steals a base, indicate the base they stole by writing the base number and the letter “SB.” For instance, if a runner on first base steals second, record “2SB” in the box.

Double Play

If a double play occurs, you’ll need to record both outs. For example, if there’s a ground ball to the shortstop who tags second base and throws to first for a double play, write “6-3” in the box.

Passed Ball or Wild Pitch

When a pitch gets past the catcher and allows a runner to advance, mark it as a “PB” (passed ball) or “WP” (wild pitch) accordingly. Include the inning number.

Fielder’s Choice

A fielder’s choice occurs when a batter hits the ball, and the defense chooses to make an out at a base other than first. Record the play, such as “6-5” for a play where the shortstop throws to the third baseman for the out.

Runners Left on Base

At the end of each inning, you can keep track of how many runners were left on base. This helps provide a summary of missed scoring opportunities for each team.

Advanced Scorekeeping

While the basics of scorekeeping cover most situations, there are some advanced aspects of the game that you may encounter in more detailed scorecards. These include:

Pitcher Stats

Some scorecards have space to record the pitcher’s statistics, including strikeouts (K), walks (BB), and hits allowed. These statistics can be vital for coaches and strategists.

Game Notes

Leaving space for game notes can be beneficial for recording noteworthy events, such as exceptional plays, injuries, or significant turning points in the game.


Track player substitutions, noting which player enters the game and who they replace. This is particularly crucial in youth softball, where there may be mandatory playtime rules.

Batting Averages

You can calculate batting averages during the game for players by dividing the number of hits by the number of at-bats.

On-Base Percentage (OBP)

Calculate OBP by adding hits and walks, then dividing by the total plate appearances.

Slugging Percentage (SLG)

SLG measures a player’s power-hitting ability. Calculate SLG by dividing the total bases by the number of at-bats.

Earned Run Average (ERA)

For pitchers, calculate ERA by dividing the number of earned runs allowed by the number of innings pitched, then multiplying by nine.


1. How many players are on a standard softball team?

  • A standard softball team typically has 9 players on the field at a time.

2. What is the difference between fastpitch and slowpitch softball?

  • Fastpitch softball is played with faster pitches, while slowpitch features slower underhand throws.

3. How long does a regulation softball game last?

  • A regulation softball game typically lasts 7 innings and can vary in duration but usually takes about 1.5 to 2 hours.

4. What is a designated player in softball?

  • A designated player, often referred to as the designated player or hitter (DP or DH), is allowed to bat in place of another player without taking a fielding position.

5. What are the key differences between softball and baseball?

  • Softball has a smaller field, underhand pitching, and typically a shorter game duration compared to baseball.


Keeping score in softball is a rewarding endeavor that allows you to engage more deeply with the game. Whether you’re a dedicated parent, a loyal fan, or a future statistician, understanding how to keep score in softball will enhance your enjoyment and appreciation of this exciting sport.

Remember that practice is key to becoming proficient, and over time, you’ll develop the skills needed to capture every pitch, hit, and play accurately. So, grab a scorecard, a pencil, and head to the ballpark to start your journey as a softball scorekeeper.

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