Softball is played between 2 teams on a large field, with nine players from one team on the field at a time. There are 4 bases on the infield (first base, second base, third base,and home plate); the bases are arranged in a square. Near the center of this square is the pitcher's circle.
The object of the game is to score more runs (points) than the other team by batting (hitting) a ball into play and running around the bases, touching each one in succession.
The offense bats and attempts to score runs, while the defense occupies the field and attempts to record outs in a variety of ways. After the defense records 3 outs, the half inning is over and the teams switch roles.
The game involves the pitcher throwing the ball towards home plate using an underhanded motion. The batter attempts to hit the pitched ball with a bat. A strike is recorded on any pitch that the batter swings at and misses entirely. A ball which is hit in the air and caught before hitting the ground is an immediate out.
After a successful hit the batter runs to first base. The defense attempts to field the ball and may throw the ball freely between players, so one player can field the ball while another moves to a position to put out the runner. The defense can tag the runner, by touching the runner with the ball while the runner is not on a base. The defense can also touch first base while in possession of the ball.
Only one runner may occupy a base at any time and runners may not pass each other. When a ball is batted into play, runners generally must attempt to advance if there are no open bases behind them; for example, a runner on first base must run to second base if the batter puts the ball in play.
The bases must be reached in order counterclockwise, starting with first base. After hitting the ball the batter may advance as many bases as possible. An advance to first base on the one hit is a "single", to second base is a "double", to third base is a "triple", and to home plate is a "home run".