We've already learned about the strike zone, and how pitches result in the umpire called a strike, ball, or foul for the batter. But, is there a limit to how many balls a batter can get? In fact, there is a limit of four balls. It's called a walk what the batter earns the maximum number of balls during the at-bat.
Walks or Base on Balls
A walk, also known as a base-on-balls, is when the batter is automatically entitled to reach first base. A walk can be drawn when the pitcher throws four pitches outside the strike zone that the batter does not swing at. First base can also be given to the batter in other situations like when the pitch is thrown outside the strike zone and hits the batter.
It is also possible for the batter to earn a walk if the catcher commits what is known as a catcher's interference. This is when the catcher physically hinders the batter's ability to hit the pitch, often by making contact with the batter during a pitch.
Sometimes, if the pitcher is facing an especially skilled and powerful hitter and there are base runners on base, the pitcher will purposely throw four balls in a row and give that player a walk. This is to take away the batter's opportunity to hit a home run or another powerful hit that would drive the base runners home.
Can Runs Be Scored Through Walks?
Yes! When a batter who draws a walk advances to first base and there is already a runner on first base, that runner is pushed to second base. If there is a runner on second base, he must advance to third base, and so on. If a batter draws a walk when the bases are loaded (each base is occupied by a base runner), all the runners must advance: including the runner at third base, who advances to home plate and scores. This does not happen very often, but it does happen!