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Baseball: Team at Bat

The ultimate goal of the team at bat is to score runs. The team at bat sends its nine players up to home plate as batters in an order called a lineup. Each team sets its batting lineup at the beginning of the game and may not change the order. Once a runner reaches home plate, they score a run and are no longer a base runner. They must leave the playing area until their spot in the order comes up again. A runner may only circle the bases once per plate appearance and thus can score no more than a single run.

Plate Appearance
Each player's turn at the plate is a plate appearance. When the batter hits a fair ball, he must run to first base, and may continue or stop at any base unless he is put out. A successful hit where the batter reaches only first base is a single; if he reaches second base, a double; or third base, a triple. A hit that allows the batter to touch all bases in order on the same play is a home run, whether or not the ball is hit over the fence. If a player has hit all four types of base hits in a single game, he is said to have "hit for the cycle." Once a runner is held to a base, he may attempt to advance at any time, but is not required to do so unless the batter or another runner displaces him.

Depending on the way the ball comes off the bat, the play has different names. A batted ball is called a fly ball if it was hit in the air in a way causing the fielder to catch it on its descent, or a line drive if it is hit in the air, but almost level to the ground. A batted ball which is not hit into the air, and which touches the ground within the infield before it can be caught, is called a ground ball.

Once the batter and any existing runners have all stopped at a base or been put out, the ball is returned to the pitcher, and the next batter comes to the plate. After the opposing team bats in its own order and three more outs are recorded, the first team's batting order will continue again from where it left off.

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