More than SLOWPITCH Softball!
WE play “Three Pitch.”
So, what’s the difference?
• Baseball has nine defensive positions, and
the ball is pitched overhand.
• Regular slowpitch softball has ten
defensive positions, and the pitcher (who
pitches underhand) is one of them.
…and “Three-Pitch Softball?”
• In Three-Pitch, the ball is pitched
underhand, but the person pitching is your
• Every pitch is a “strike” so you’ll never get
a fourth pitch to try to hit.
Let’s discuss defense:
• While baseball has nine fielders, with three
outfielders, slowpitch softball has ten
fielders (with four outfielders).
• Our game has a special position for
defense, called the “pitcher’s helper,”
whose job it is to handle the balls hit in the
vicinity of (but not right to) the pitcher.
Look at the board for more!
• The red dot shows where the defensive
players (called fielders) “line up” on the
field when a pitch is made: Remember
this for test time, and for your games!
• After the ball has been hit, the fielders
move around the field, trying to get
baserunners out and to prevent scores.
What is the job of the defense?
• As always, the term “defense” means “to
• In baseball and softball, they do this by
never allowing a baserunner to progress
through 1st, 2nd, and 3rd bases, and on to
• The fielders try to get the runners “out.”
“Out?” The opposite of “in?”
• No, when a runner is put out, s/he is
removed from base running; this means
s/he can not score this time around.
• When the defense makes three outs, their
team gets to come up and bat.
• An “inning” consists of both teams getting
an opportunity to score; a chance of
batting; getting three outs.
Innings, Outs…I’m confused!
• There is a “top half” and a “bottom half” to
each inning. This gives each team the
same number of chances to bat and score.
• Look at the board for a better explanation!
• When time tells us it is time to end the
game, we check the score from the last
completed inning to determine the winner.
This sounds like offense rules;
weren’t we on defense?
• Oops! There are different ways for the
defense to get an offensive player out:
– Catching a fly ball
– Tagging a base runner with the ball
– Stepping on the base ahead of the runner,
with possession of the ball, in a force out
– Easier still, the batter or runner can get
themselves out by breaking certain rules
“Force Outs” are important for each
and every one of you to understand
• Think of the word, FORCE
– Having to do something and having no choice
• Keep in mind, when the batter hits a fair ball, s/he
must run to 1st base (the batter is forced to do so)
• Keep in mind, there is only one runner allowed on
a base at one time
So, if you’re a baserunner, you’d
better know when a team mate is
forcing you to move!
• If you’re on 1st base, you will definitely
have to move on, because the batter is
coming your way!
• A “force out situation” is one in which a
base runner is being forced to advance; in
such cases, that runner need not be
tagged out (just touch the base ahead).
• Check the board for more examples.
What about “fair ball,” “fly ball,”
• “Fair” is the opposite of “foul.”
• You could consider “fair” as being “in
bounds,” and “foul” as being “OB.”
• Fair territory is the field between the first
base line and the third base line.
• When a batter hits a fair ball, s/he must
run to 1st base.
• When a batter hits a foul ball, it’s a strike.
• A “fly ball” is one that has been batted and
is flying through the air; it has not bounced
or touched the ground. Catch it, and the
• To “tag” is to touch a runner with the ball
when s/he is not on a base; doing so
makes the runner OUT!
You mentioned ‘first’ and ‘third’
• The first base line goes from home plate
through 1st base, then right field, infinitely.
• The third base line goes from home plate
through 3rd base, then left field, infinitely.
• Both of these can also be called “foul
lines” because they differentiate foul balls
from fair balls.
HOW do they do THAT?
• Balls hit to the infield are fair if they are not
touched by a fielder outside the baseline.
• Balls hit to the outfield are fair if they pass
the base (1st or 3rd) inside the base line.
• “If it ain’t fair, it’s foul!” (That stinks!) lol
What is a ‘strike?’
• A strike is a work stoppage, but let’s seek
an alternate definition. (lol)
• A strike is a failed attempt by a batter to hit
a ball; it could be a swing-and-a-miss, or a
• When a batter has committed three
strikes, that batter is OUT!
• In Three-Pitch, every pitch is a strike!
What else does a baserunner need
to be aware of, besides force outs?
• Tagging up
– When a fly ball is (or is going to be) caught…
• Remain on the base until fly ball touches the
fielder, then run at your own risk to the next base;
you will not be in a force out situation. This applies
to foul (fly) balls, as well.
• If you take off running and then the fly ball is
caught, you must go back from whence you came;
you are in a force out situation going back. Once
you’ve tagged that base again, you may advance
at your own risk and no longer be in a force play.
More baserunning info:
• “Leading off” means leaving the base
you’re on, in order to get a head start.
– In slowpitch softball, you can lead off when
the pitcher releases the pitch, but you can
only advance to the next base if the batter hits
a fair ball.
– If the base runner leaves before the pitch
leaves the pitcher’s hand, the runner’s OUT!
• Dead ball out; does not count as a pitch.
• Do not interfere with a fielder’s opportunity
to make a play on a ball.
• If a batted ball hits you, you’re OUT!
• You are limited to three feet outside a
baseline when attempting to avoid a tag:
any farther, and you’re OUT!
• Never pass a baserunner ahead of you; if
you do, that runner is OUT!