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What's the Count?

The count determines what the next pitch thrown will be and where it is intended to go. When a pitcher is ahead in the count, batters lose discipline and swing at pitches out of the strike zone, especially with two strikes. A smart pitcher takes advantage of this by throwing pitches off the plate causing the batter to chase them. This situation is an advantage to the pitcher, increasing the chances of the batter making an out. Conversely, when a pitcher is behind in the count, most will throw fat pitches over the heart of the plate to avoid walking the batter, greatly increasing the batter’s chance of making solid contact if she swings. This is a definite advantage to the batter, not only increasing the chances of her hitting the ball, but simultaneously increasing her chances of hitting the ball on the barrel of the bat producing a more powerful hit.

At every level, pitchers and pitch callers are constantly worried about walking people. To make sure they don’t, they purposely throw fat pitches over the plate on the first pitch to get ahead and they purposely throw fat pitches over the plate when they get behind in the count. These counts are 0-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-0, 3-1, and sometimes 3-2. Let me repeat this. PITCHERS INTENTIONALLY THROW FAT PITCHES TO HIT ON THE FIRST PITCH AND WHEN THEY ARE BEHIND. This fear of walking the batter is what provides the advantage in fastpitch softball. A fat pitch over the plate is a huge advantage to the batter and to get it all you need is one of these counts. If you’re the pitcher, you start with the advantage on the 0-0 count but to maintain the advantage you start with, you must avoid falling behind with one of these counts.

Every count has an effect on the advantage, but none more than the first pitch or 0-0 count. If the first pitch is a strike, the pitcher’s chances of maintaining the advantage on that batter increase to seventy-one percent of the time because five of the seven remaining possible counts favor her. If it’s a ball those chances fall to even. Pitchers and batters must understand the importance of having the advantage and develop the skills and discipline necessary to consistently obtain it because being ahead or behind in the count has a huge impact on the next pitch, which in turn has a huge impact on what the batter does with that pitch, which in turn has a huge impact on that player’s individual success and ultimately on which team wins the game.     PURCHASE     CANCEL

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