How Many Innings Are In A Baseball Game?
Baseball games at the professional, semi-pro, and college level all play nine (9)-inning games with 27 outs. However, high school games are shorter and play seven (7) innings, and many youth leagues only play six (6) innings. This was not always the case, however.
Unlike many sports, baseball does not use a play clock. Instead, the game moves along with the number of "outs." Players can strike out, be called out while running the base, or hit the ball and get caught by a fly out. After three outs, the team's at-bat is over, and the other team goes to bat. After both teams take the plate, the inning is over.
Extra innings occur when the teams are still tied by the end of nine innings. A baseball game could hypothetically go on forever, but most games end within the scheduled nine innings. Still, the longest professional game ever played between the Rochester Redwings and the Pawtucket Red Sox. On April 18, 19, and June 23, 1981, the two teams battled it out over the course of days in a game that lasted an astounding 33 innings.
Even though most baseball games are decided within nine innings, a game can also technically be cut short and not go a full nine innings in case of weather, depending on the particular rules of the league. Sometimes a game will be delayed for a short amount of time because of inclement weather, but if it is deemed necessary by officials, the game will be concluded on a later date where the teams will finish the remaining innings.
Is There A Difference In Length Between Professional, College, And High School Baseball Games?
On average, baseball games at the professional and college level take about three hours. Some of the more fast-paced games last two hours, and sometimes, a game can drag out as long as four to complete nine innings. Things like weather, visits to the pitcher's mound, the number of pitches thrown, and the way the umpire officiates the game can all play a factor in speeding up or slowing down the game's pace.
High School and lower levels of baseball have games that average closer to two hours, and the little guys playing tee-ball usually play for just over an hour. Many high schools and little leagues allow for a time limit to be enforced for the game based on the discretion of the league's officials.
It's nearly impossible to know for sure how long a baseball game will actually take, but for those of us who love the sport, we will take every minute we can get.