(AP Photo)

When a batter hits the ball and reaches base safely, how do you know if it should be scored as a hit or not?  Generally, it is scored a hit unless he reached via an error or a fielder’s choice.  There are, however, some key points to note as detailed in Scoring Rule 10.04.

Essentially give the batter a hit except when any of the following apply:

  • An error was charged to a fielder, and the batter would have been put out if not for the error.
    • Note: give the benefit of the doubt to the hitter.  If an infielder makes a diving play, and then his wild throw takes the first baseman off the bag, award a single to the batter as ‘ordinary effort’ would not have put him out.
  • A runner is forced out. (e.g., runners on 1st and 2nd, and batter hits a routine ground ball to the infield.  If the infielder throws the ball – or runs to a base – and retires the runner at either 2nd or 3rd base, that is a force out)
    • Note that this applies no matter who fields the ball.  If it’s a line drive hit to left field, but the left fielder throws the ball to 3rd in time to retire the forced runner from 2nd, it is also a force out.
    • This also applies on a “clean” hit, if a forced runner misses the first base he needs to advance to and is called out on appeal.  E.g, runner on 1st, routine hit to right field, and runner goes to third base but does not touch second. If called out on appeal, the batter loses his hit. It is essentially the same thing as the runner having been forced out at 2nd.
  • An infielder puts out a runner trying to advance one base.
    • This is differentiated from the above, in that it does not need to be a force out, and it only applies to infielders.  E.g., runner on 3rd, ground ball to the 2nd baseman who throws the ball home to get runner out.  No hit.  Same situation, but it’s hit to the right fielder who throws the runner out.  This is a hit.
  • A fielder tries unsuccessfully to put out a runner trying to advance one base, but would have had the batter out.
    • E.g. runner on 2nd, ground ball to shortstop who throws to 3rd not in time to get the runner.  Since if there was no runner, the batter would have likely been thrown out at first, he does not get  a hit
  • Also, no hit is given if a runner is called out for interfering with a fielder attempting to field a ball.
  • Also note that if a batter is called out on appeal for having missed first base, he does not get credit for a hit.
  1. This is more of a rules question then a scoring question but I figured I ask anyway. Batter hits the ball back toward the pitchers mound. The ball hits the rubber and nothing else and deflects back into foul territory (never going past first or third base). Fair ball or foul ball?

  2. I know this has probably been asked a million times, but a fly ball on the infield between P and 2b…P drops back as 2b comes in. At last second, both give way to each other and the ball drops between the two, with neither making any attempt to catch the ball. Error? If so, on who? Or, good fortune hit?

  3. Batter hits the ball fair, deep into the corner. He successfully reaches first, but believes he can stretch it to extra bases. He is thrown out at second, third, or home. Is this scored a hit since he did successfully reach first?

  4. rule 10.06 (e) says A base hit is NOT scored when a runner is called out for interference with a fielder attempting to field a batted ball…. WHAT IS SCORED FOR THE BATTER WHEN A RUNNER ON BASE IS CALLED OUT FOR INTERFERENCE?

    • I think you are quoting rule 10.05 (b)(5) (unless I have a different version of the scoring rules), but regardless, when a runner is called out for interference, the batter is charged with a fielder’s choice.

  5. What if a fielder is injured on a play and unable to complete the play? Example: a sharp hit ball hits the pitcher and drops the side of the mound. The pitcher is unable to make a play on the ball due to injury and the runner is safe at first. My thoughts are that no hit is awarded if the pitcher could reasonably have picked up the ball and thrown the hitter out at first if not for the injury. Thoughts?

    • I’d be tempted to say that if a ball was hit so sharply that it hit and injured the pitcher, he could not have reasonably be expected to get the out with ordinary effort. And also always give benefit of the doubt to the hitter. I think I would score this a hit.

  6. If a batter is trying to stretch a tripple into a inside the park hr the player makes a error on a relay, is it a error or a home run

    • It’s probably an inside the park home run. If the error happened after the runner had rounded 3rd and was going for home, you can’t assume he’d have gotten thrown out and have to give him the HR. If there was a bad relay throw from the outfielder to the infielder before the runner got to 3rd, and in your judgement he only stretched it into a home run because of that bad throw and would have stopped at 3rd otherwise, then you could rule a triple and error.

  7. If there’s a runner on first and 2nd batter hits it they throw out 2nd base that a force. But after they throw out 2nd they try to throw it to 3rd is that a force out or got to tag them?

    • Got to tag them. It’s only a force, if they’re “forced” to go there. Since there is no runner on 2nd now, the runner going to 3rd can turn around and go back to 2nd, so no force.

      • I hate these types of conversations. I hate even more when people would/still tell me how strong I am because they could never do what I am doing. The only response I have is a pitiful look. Because no one gets through life unscathed. And just because I am coping does not mean I am “strong”. We don’t really have any alternative but to cope. Great post. I wish I could say this stuff out loud to certain people.

  8. I just learned something new. Well done.

  9. Steve Grandizio

    What if a batter lays down a bunt for a hit and there’s no play at first, but a runner on second or third makes a baserunning mistake and/or trips and gets thrown out on a non force play at third or home? If there was no play at first, could that be scored a hit?

    • Unfortunately for the batter, it is not a hit when a baserunner is put out going to the next base, whether or not it’s a force play. Scoring rule 9.05(b) says “The official scorer shall not credit a base hit when a (3) pitcher, the catcher or any infielder handles a batted ball and puts out a preceding runner who is attempting to advance one base or to return to his original base, or would have put out such runner with ordinary effort except for a fielding error. The official scorer shall charge the batter with a time at bat but no hit”

      • I guess it stems from the fact that you can’t “officially” make an “error” on offense.

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