Difference Between Softball and Baseball

Both popular sports, particularly in the United States and Canada, baseball and softball seems fairly identical, and are usually only distinguished by assuming that softball is more of a female sport – however, this is not the case, and a variety of other differences exist between the two sports.

To begin with, the pitching areas in both sports are different. Baseball includes a pitching mound on the field, on which the pitcher stands when throwing. However, this is not the case in softball, in which the pitcher remains on level ground with the batter at all times. In baseball, the pitching distance is 60 feet, 6 inches (18.44 m), while in softball it tends to vary, but is 46 feet (14.02 m) for men.

In addition to the area, the pitching style also varies between both sports. Pitchers in softball deliver the ball using an underhand motion – no other style of pitching is allowed. However, in baseball, pitchers can use any delivery method, although delivering overhand is usually preferred. Baseball pitchers can also throw sidearm, if they choose.

The field size and base paths also tends to vary in both sports. As far as the baselines are concerned, in baseball they are 90 feet (27.43 m), while in softball they are smaller – 60 feet (18.29 m). As far as outfield measurements are concerned, these tend to vary; in baseball, for professional and university leagues, variable distance from home plate is mandatory, while in softball, it depends on the individual field (the maximum is 250 ft/76 m).

The equipment used – the bats and balls – are also a point of difference. In baseball, the bat should not be longer than 42 inches (1067 mm), while in softball it should not be longer than 34 inches (864 mm). In softball, composite materials are used in the making of bats, while professional baseball bats are always made of wood. Baseball balls are 9 inches (229 mm) in circumference, while the balls used in softball are larger – 12 or 11 inches (305 or 279 mm) in circumference.


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    A bat-and-ball sport, baseball was officially played as a sport in 1846, and is a game played between two teams consisting of 9 players each. Each professional game consists of nine innings, and each team takes turns at batting and pitching – runs are scored by hitting the pitched ball with a bat, and touching a series of four bases. By the end of the game, the team that scores the most runs wins. Most popular in the United States and Canada, the professional sport is grouped under Major League Baseball (MLB), which is further sub-divided into the National League (NL) and American League (AL). These branch out into three more sub-divisions – East, West, and Central.

    Image courtesy: houstonbaseballcoach.com

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    A popular variant of baseball, softball was first played as an indoor game, in 1888 in Chicago. It was given its name in 1926, and comes under the International Softball Federation, which regulates the rules of the sport in more than 110 countries, prime among these the United States and Canada. A “softer” version of baseball, softball is played on a smaller field, with a larger ball.

    Image courtesy: digitaljournal.com

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