Baseball is a team sport that involves hitting a ball with a bat, running around bases, and fielding other players’ hits. It is played by two teams of 9 players each, and the team with the most runs after 9 innings is deemed the winner.
The game is played over nine innings (although games can be shorter or longer, such as in little league). Each inning starts with the away team hitting first and ends with the home team batting last.
Before the game begins, the manager sets the batting line-up, a list of players who will be on the field during the course of the game. When the lineup is set, the player who will be the leadoff hitter will usually be one of the most experienced or strongest hitters in the team, typically with the highest on-base percentage and a strong batting average.
Once a team’s batting order has been established, the team goes to the field with the pitcher and catcher, who must wait in the batter’s box until the next hitter is ready to hit. When the hitter is ready, the pitcher throws the ball to the catcher, who must then squat to receive it. The catcher must then signal the pitcher to throw the ball to a certain area of the plate, and the hitter swings the bat and tries to hit it.
Pitchers must throw balls that are pitched to the hitter at an angle that is aimed toward a specific spot on the catcher’s glove called the strike zone. This is a critical part of the game, and it is often misunderstood by beginner players and newcomers to the sport.
The pitch is thrown at the hitter, and it must hit the hitter in the chest or face, with the ball touching the inside edge of the batter’s glove. If the ball touches the hitter’s glove or chest, it is a “hit”; if it hits the outside edge of the glove, it is a “strike.”
A strike is a sign that the pitcher intends to hit the batter with a pitch that will be either a hard fastball or a curveball. If the batter misses the ball, the runner on base will be put out.
There are many ways to get out of a strike, but the most common is to tag out the runner at the base where they are stopped at. If the runner is caught, they must remain at that base until another runner can run to the same spot in the batting order and score a run.
Defensive plays are the actions that prevent runners from scoring runs, such as catching fly balls, throwing out base runners, and tagging or forcing out other runners before they have the chance to reach the next base safely. These defensive plays can include tagging out a runner at a base, making a double play to retire the batter at a particular base, or even throwing a ball back to the catcher and then calling a strikeout for the runner on that base.