Scorekeeping, especially for a Little League baseball game, is both fun and simple. The key is to know the basic abbreviations, how to score the plays and, of course, paying attention to the game. Scorebooks are the official record of the games played, so it is important to make sure they are filled out accurately.
The crux of scorekeeping is the system that assigns a number to each player. Don’t confuse these with jersey numbers; these standard numerical symbols used in scorekeeping never change. When you are scorekeeping you will always use the position number rather than the position name:
1 = pitcher
2 = catcher
3 = first base
4 = second base
5 = third base
6 = shortstop
7 = left field
8 = center field
9 = right field
If you play a 10-player lineup, a “10” would indicate a short fielder or fourth outfielder. A designated hitter is labeled simply “DH.”
Common Abbreviations to Scorekeep Game Action
1B = single
2B = double
3B = triple
HR = home run
BB = Walk
DP = double play
HBP = hit by pitch
RBI = run batted in
SB = stolen base
IP = Illegal Pitch (Major Division and below)
K = Strike out
- You are responsible for keeping the official score of the game. The home team is always the official scorekeeper.
- You are the one who has the final say on whether or not an error is made.
- You are the one who ensures that every player has a chance to have his or her name in the newspaper.
- You are responsible for keeping an accurate record of the game.
- Any one of your fellow scorekeepers, the manager, or a board member should be able to review your scorebook and get an accurate, clear picture of everything that happened in the game.
Setting up the Scorebook
- Arrive to the field at least 15 minutes
- Setup directly behind home plate.
- Find the appropriate page in the scorebook. The team names and date of the game should be filled out at the top in ink. The scorebook will also indicate which team is the Home team, and which is the Visitors. There may also be other notes in the scorebook regarding eligible pitchers, etc.
- Ten minutes before the start of the game, make sure to obtain the lineup from the managers. The lineup will be listed on the lineup card.
- Transfer the names positions, and player numbers into the player listing on the scorebook.
- Make sure the managers have accounted for each player on the team.
- In the scorebook, make notes regarding eligible pitchers, etc.
Official Start Time
Make sure to mark the official start time at the top of the scorecard:
____(v) vs ____(H) TIME: 1:35 DATE:____PLACE___
The official time is when the umpire says, “Play” or otherwise indicates the start of the game. There are usually time limits for most games. Game time limits vary by division, as well as day of the week.
Scorekeeper In-Game Duties
- Watch each play and record the results in the scorebook
- Keep an accurate count of all pitches thrown and record in the scorebook each half inning (you may wish to cross-check the pitch count each half inning with the other scorekeepers)
- During a game, the primary responsibility of the scorekeeper is to keep a written scoresheet which tracks:
- Balls and strikes of each batter
- How each batter gets on base
- Runs and outs for each team
- Identify “RBI‟s –runs batted in”
- “Pitch Count”-or number of pitches thrown by individual pitchers
- Confirm the batter. As each player comes to bat, be sure it is the correct player by checking his/her uniform number against the lineup.
- Scoring Balls and Strikes
- All scorebooks have a spot to mark balls and strikes. They are usually in the form of five little squares or circles. To score a ball or strike you either put a line, number, or color in the little squares or circles. If you use the number method it is good to number the pitches in order they occurred.
- Scoring Outs
- To score an out, know where the ball went, who the ball was thrown to, or who caught the ball. When an out has occurred, write the position number of the player who caught the ball and then who it was thrown to. Be sure to separate the players with a dash. Once this is done make sure to put the out number 1,2 or 3 in the box where the out occurred and circle it. Make sure to draw a half line toward the base where the out was made at. Mark a K in the scoring box for a strikeout.
- Scoring Hits
- To score a hit all that needs to be done in know the type of hit it was (single, double, triple or home run). Most scorebooks have these items marked in each scoring box. Just simply circle the correct hit. Make sure to advance any players that were on base at the time of the hit to their correct position. Scoring a walk is the same as scoring a hit, just circle the BB in the particular box and draw a line showing the player at first base
- Scoring Walks
- As walk or (Base on Balls) is recorded the same as a hit. When a batter walks you circle the BB abbreviation in side column and draw a line to first base. Be sure to advance any previous runner that may have been on first. If a batter walks with the bases loaded, he is credited with a RBI
- To score a run, simply color in the entire box of the player who scored. When scoring a run be sure to give an RBI to the player who batted in the runner. Some scorebooks have a box for RBI while others just need to have the RBI written in
- When an inning has ended, there must be a slash put at the bottom right corner the last player to come up in that particular inning. After writing in the slash simply draw a line down the entire inning to make sure no other scoring is done in that inning.
Scorekeeper After-Game Duties
- The game is over when the umpire declares it over.
- Record the pitch count totals for every pitcher on each team and enter into the Pitcher Eligibility Tracking Form
- Shutting Down Checklist:
- Clearly indicate the final score and the winner/loser.
- Clearly indicate the pitch count totals for each pitcher.
- Have each manager sign the score sheet after they have verified the final/official score of the game.
- Have each manager sign the pitch count sheet.
- Always use a pencil
- Secure your coffee & drinks: spills are bummers
- Concentration and focus are important
- Leave issues and arguments to the BMOD (Board Member on Duty) to decide.
- If there are two or more players running the bases, fill out the score sheet “backwards” after every play.
- Start with the batter and record what happened to that player. Then, go up the lineup to the previous player on the bases, and record what happened to that player. And so on. .
- Feel free to call a time-out to ask an umpire to clarify call.
- Little League has very specific rules on the number of pitches a pitcher can pitch, it is important to note the ending pitch count of each pitcher in the scorebook.
- You have an important job, so try and block out distractions from the crowd and remain neutral.
Important Items to Get Right
- Pitch Count: The number of pitches delivered by each pitcher, each inning and cumulatively
- The Score
Pitch Count Scoring (see further down for pitch count rules and days of rest.)
- Provide pitch count totals to managers/coaches whenever they ask.
- Each pitch delivered (while the ball is live) to the batter shall be counted. (Exception: A pitch declared “no pitch” will not be charged to that pitcher.)
- The total pitches for each pitcher must be entered in the scorebook at the end of the game (and on the Eligibility Tracking Form)
- The Office Scorekeeper’s pitch count is the official count and is final. It doesn’t matter if the managers, coaches, or parents or anyone else's is different than the Official
- Scorekeeper! Do not get caught up in who’s record is correct. Remember, the Official Scorekeeper is the final and official pitch count!
- On every pitch, record ball/strike with a slash
- For “foul balls” with 2 strikes already recorded, write “foul” or just “F” in the upper left corner (F1,2 means there were 2 foul balls with 2 strikes recorded; you can also use dots or hash marks instead of “F1”)
- After 3rd out, tally up balls + strikes + 2nd strike, fouls+ HBP+ hits+ errors = pitch count fouls.
- Write the pitch count for each inning at the bottom of the score sheet in the correct inning column.
- Each time a new pitcher enters the game, either for your own team, or the opposing team, you must track it in the scorebook.
- With Pitch Count, you are concerned with the number of actual pitches, and NOT innings.
Here is an informative video to Little League Scorekeeping: