“Scoring” is the method of keeping an official account of everything that happens throughout a game of baseball. For these instructions, it is important that you have at least a general understanding of baseball and its rules. This is useful for any parent that gets to keep score of their child’s game or for any fan that wants to keep score as they attend a game of their favorite team.
These instructions are broken down into the components of a scoring card. Every step may be read to understand the method of scoring or each component (“step”) can be referenced individually.
Step 1: The Terms
HR: Home Run
FC: Fielder’s Choice
BB: Base on Balls (Walk)
BK: Balk (Pitcher mistake)
HB: Hit by Pitch (Hit Batter)
SB: Stolen Base
CS: Caught Stealing
K: Swinging Strikeout
ꓘ: Called Strike Out
Step 2: The Scoring Sheet
Add all pertinent information to the scorecard in the indicated places (home, visitor, date, etc).
Step 3: The Batting Line Up
Write the batting order, 1 through 9, and indicate the players number and position (with numerical value)
The row the hitter is in will keep score of everything they do on offense throughout the game. The columns keep track of everything that happens on offense for one inning
Track the batting order, and make sure everyone is hitting in the spot they are supposed to be in
Step 4: Balls and Strikes
This amount of detail is not always present on every scorecard, however it is important that you know what the above boxes indicate if you see them on the score card you are working with.
The three horizontal boxes on top represent the balls during an at bat, and conversely the two boxes below represent strikes during an at bat. Fill these boxes in after every pitch if required.
Step 5: Hits
Write down what type of hit it was using the above terms
Indicate where the batter is on base by drawing a line starting from where the player is to the base they player is at.
Note: It is not a straight line from home to base, but a diamond pattern the same way the hitter runs around the bases.
If the player scores, complete the diamond and color it in to indicate a run-scoring play.
Any runner on base that advances from one base to another must also be recorded
Step 6: Outs
Track where the ball goes and indicate on the scorecard who recorded the out and how by writing down their numerical position and the correct term
Update in the box the number of outs (one, two, or three)
If it is the third out, put an ‘X’ through the rest of the column to indicate the end of the half inning.
Any outs made on the base path must also be recorded by drawing a line half way from the base they left to the base they were going to with a perpendicular line. Also record how the out was made.
Step 7: Base Running
In the occurrence of a base runner advancing absent a hit, you must update the score card to reflect the movement of the runners. The general steps involve drawing a line from the starting base to the ending base and adding the proper term above the line to indicate how the runner advanced. More specific details are listed below:
Steals - if a runner steals a base, draw a line on the diamond from the base the player started at to the base they ended at and add the term "SB" above the line. This will indicate that the player advanced to the next base as well as how they got there.
Sacrifice Fly - in the case that a hitter flies out but the runner is still able to advance a base, draw a line on the diamond from the starting base to the ending base with a "SF" to indicate the runner was able to advance on a sac fly.
Note: This is not a detailed list of every way a player can advance, just some of the more common. The general rule applies for any runner, however, as you simply indicate the path on the diamond and note the method of advancing.
Step 8: Scoring Runs
The most important detail of a score card is the official score. Whenever a run is scored, complete the diamond on the score card and fill it in to make it easier to find all the runs throughout the game.
Step 9: Substitutions
The score card leaves room for all substitutions that may occur throughout the game. The most common substitutions are pinch hitters and substitute pitchers.
In the case of a pinch hitter, the score card will have space below the previous player to add a new name, number, and position. This person will take the previous player's spot in the batting order, but it is important to remember they don't necessarily have to take the same position.
For a substitute pitcher, update the score card by adding the new pitcher's name below that of the previous pitcher. In this case, it is important to note that this case the new player takes both the position on the field as well as in the spot in the batting order of the previous player.