A game played between 2 teams of 9 players each using a bat and a ball on a field having an infield or diamond -- a 90-foot square with a base located at each corner – at one end. These bases mark the route an offensive player must take in order to score.
At the corner of the field is home plate and the other three bases, in the order in which they must be run, are first base, second base, and third base. Each team takes turns playing on offense and defense. The team on defense has four players stationed around the infield: a first baseman near first base, a second baseman between first and second base, a shortstop between third base and second base. There are three players stationed in the outfield: a left fielder, a center fielder and a right fielder. A pitcher approximately in the middle of the diamond pitches to a catcher who is behind the home plate.
The batter, an offensive player, stands beside home plate and attempts to hit a pitch into fair territory away from the fielders so that he can run to one or more bases without being put out. The ways a player may be put out include striking out, hitting a ball in the air that is caught before it hits the ground, being tagged with the ball while off base, and having a base that one is forced to advance to touched by a player holding the ball.
The pitcher is encouraged to pitch the ball over home plate where it is easier for the batter to have a chance to hit it; if he throws four pitches that are not over the plate and that are not swung at by the batter (balls), the batter is permitted to advance to first base (a base on balls). The batter is encouraged to try to hit any pitch that passes over home plate; if he fails to hit one of three good pitches over the plate (strikes), he is struck out.
Once a player reaches base safely, he may stay on that base without danger of being put out unless he is forced to advance when the batter hits the ball. If an offensive player is able to progress around all bases without being put out and to touch home plate, he scores a run for his team.
The game is under the control of an umpire stationed behind the catcher who rules on whether a pitch is a ball or a strike, calls fair and four balls, rule son plays at home plate, and has the authority to decide whether a game is to be forfeited or called because of rain or darkness. This umpire is assisted by umpires at each of the bases who call plays at their respective bases. Play begins when the umpire-in-chief calls ‘play ball,’ is in play at all times unless it is knocked out of the playing area or unless an umpire calls timeout.
Play proceeds by innings, each of which consists of turn on offense and on defense for each team. A team’s turn on offense (that is át bat’) continues with the batting rotation until three men have been put out. The team then takes the field while the other team comes to bat.
A game normally consists of nine innings with the team with the team having the most runs at the end of the game being the winner.