Baseball is basically a fast-pitch, ground ball game between two teams that play each other over an extended period of time. The game usually begins with each team having five batters (three on offense and one on defense). During the course of a game, a designated starting pitcher is used, and during the middle of a game, a designated reliever is used.
When a batter hits a baseball, the ball is carried forward by the player whose team is playing that particular batter. The batter then catches the ball in one hand and swings the bat in an attempt to catch the ball in one hand as well. When this is done, the batter has three options:
The first two options are usually followed by a runner advancing one base. If there is no such runner, the batter can take a single (or double) or triple. One-batter games are not uncommon, however. As long as one batter advances, a tie-game will be declared. When a runner advances from a one-batter game and scores, the winning team will win.
The next option available to a baseball player is to swing at the ball. In many instances, a baseball may be hit so hard that it does not leave the batter’s hand or reach the plate. In order for a batter to qualify for a home run, he must swing at the ball at least one time, regardless of where the ball lands. A foul tip does not count!
Batting out of position is another way that the batter can get out of a game. The batter must first line up and hit the ball into one of the designated holes on the field. Each hole corresponds to a different team. Once a batter does hit his pitch in one of these holes, that batter will be removed from the game. The team with the runner at second base when the batter leaves will then score. If, however, the batter does not hit his pitch into one of the designated holes, but instead, it is touched off a base, that batter will remain in the game.
Finally, in most instances, if a batter hits a ball off one of the base runners, one of the bases will become unplayable. This means that the batter cannot hit another base until a later at-bat. Even when this happens, however, a batter can score even if he hits a sacrifice fly ball.