20+ Difference Between Baseball And Softball (Explained)

Both baseball and softball are very popular among adults and children alike. Moreover, because of the gear they use and the overall look of the play, it is easy to either think of them as one game or think of the latter as a somewhat toned-down version of baseball.

Baseball and softball do have differences. Once you look at them, you will find softball to be an equally challenging game. Or perhaps let the pitching of former softball player Jennie Finch do the talking.

Comparison Between Baseball And Softball

HistoryThe sport existed in the 18th century.Softball was invented in 1887.
Number of InningsOne game of baseball is divided into nine innings.A softball game has seven innings.
The number of Active PlayersA baseball team has nine players.There can be 9 or 10 players in a softball team.
Field SizeThe Outfield fence is 300 ft(91.5 m) to 400 ft(122 m) from the home plate.The Outfield fence is 220 ft(67 m) to 250 ft(76 m) from the home plate.
BaselinesBaselines are 90 ft(27 meters) long.Baselines are 60 ft(18 meters) long.
Bat SizeBaseball bats can be 42 inches(107 cm) maximum.Softball bats can be 34 inches(86 cm) maximum. They are wider than baseball bats.
Material Used for BatsMostly, wooden bats are used. Only wooden bats are allowed in professional baseball.Mostly bats made of composite materials are used.
Ball SizeBaseballs are about 9 in(23 cm) in circumference.Softballs are about 12 in(30.5) in circumference.
Ball WeightBaseballs weigh between 5 ounces(142 grams) to 5.25 ounces(149 grams).Softballs weigh between 6.25 ounces(177 grams) to 7 ounces(198.5 grams).
The Pitching SpotThe pitching spot is an elevated surface.The pitching spot is at an equal level.
Pitching StylePitchers throw overhand or sidearm in baseball.Pitchers can throw only underhand.
TrajectoryThe motion and the pitching spot cause the ball to be thrown downward.The motion causes the ball to move upwards.

Difference Between Baseball And Softball

What is Baseball?

In baseball, two teams of nine players play against each other. The batting team has to hit the balls in such a way that they get to run at the designated bases. The one who runs across all four bases, the fourth being the home base, completes a run.

The team on defense has to get them called out in several ways. The batter who misses the ball three times gets called out. They can also catch the ball before it touches the ground or gets the runner called out by tagging him with the ball. 

differences between baseball and softball

What is Softball?

The game of Softball began in the nineteenth century on a Thanksgiving day by George Hancock, a reporter in Chicago. It initially began as an indoor variation of the baseball game with safety in mind.

Softball has since evolved into an outdoor game, with some changes in rules and gear. It is played in a similar fashion as baseball. However, the field size is smaller than a regular baseball diamond. It is said to be played mostly by women and children, although men play it as much.

all about baseball and softball

Contrast Between Baseball And Softball

The History:

  • Baseball- The earliest mention of baseball is in a book published in 1744 in England. This suggests that baseball existed in the eighteenth century.
  • Softball was created as an indoor game in 1887 on Thanksgiving day. It not only served as an indoor version of baseball, but it also helped regular baseball players maintain their form. It slowly evolved into a separate outdoor sport. 

Number of Innings:

  • Baseball- In baseball, two teams play against each other for nine innings in total.
  • Softball- In a softball game, two teams play for seven innings in total.

Number of Players:

  • Baseball- A baseball team has nine active players in general.
  • Softball- A softball team has nine active players as well. Sometimes a tenth player serves as an extra fielder in the outfield.

Size of the Field:

  • Baseball- Baseball fields are larger in size as compared to the ones specifically made for Softball. The outfield fence is about 300 feet(91.5 meters) to 400 feet(122 meters) away from the home base.
  • Softball- Softball can be played on baseball fields. However, the fields specifically made for Softball are only smaller and also used at the professional level. The outfield fence is about 220 feet(67 meters) to 250 feet(76 meters) away from the home plate.
all about baseball and softball field

Distance between the Base:

  • Baseball- In baseball, the baselines or the distance between the consecutive bases is about 90 feet(27 meters).
  • Softball- The baselines for Softball are shorter. The distance between the two consecutive bases is about 60 feet(18 meters)

Size of the Bats Used

  • Baseball – The maximum length of baseball bats is 42 inches(107 centimeters).
  • Softball – The maximum length of softball bats is 34 inches(86 centimeters). The bats are wider in shape than baseball bats.

Bat Material

  • Baseball – Baseball bats are made of aluminum and wood. However, wooden bats are mostly used as professional baseball allows only wooden bats for playing.
  • Softball – Softball bats can be made of any of the three materials- wood, composite, or aluminum. At the professional level, aluminum and composite bats are used more.

Size of the Ball

  • Baseball – Baseballs are white in color and have a circumference of 9 inches(23 centimeters) to 9.25 inches(23.5 centimeters).
  • Softball – Softballs are mostly yellow or white in color and have a circumference of 11 inches(28 centimeters) to 12 inches(30.5 centimeters). Despite being bigger, softballs are softer than baseballs.

Weight of the Ball:

  • Baseball – Baseballs weigh between 5 ounces(142 grams) to 5.25 ounces(149 grams).
  • Softball – Softballs weigh between 6.25 ounces(177 grams) to 7 ounces(198.5 grams).

Distance between pitching area and home base

  • Baseball- The pitcher is about 60 feet and 6 inches(18.4 meters) away from the batter.
  • Softball- The pitcher is generally 43 feet(13 meters) away. However, this distance can also be between 46 feet (14 meters)to 50 feet(15 meters).

The Pitching Area

  • Baseball – In baseball, the pitcher stands on a slightly elevated surface. The elevation is not more than 10 inches (25 centimeters).
  • Softball – Softball pitchers do not stand on an elevated surface. They pitch from a circular area that is at the same level as the rest of the field.

The Pitching Style

pitch of baseball and softball
  • Baseball – Baseball pitchers have no restrictions on how they can throw the ball. The most commonly used style is overhand or sidearm.
  • Softball – For softball pitchers, using the underhand motion for throwing the ball is mandatory. They throw the ball by building momentum using windmill-style action.

The Trajectory of Ball

  • Baseball – Because the pitcher stands on an elevated area and uses mainly overhand motion to throw the ball’s trajectory downwards toward the batter.
  • Softball – The underhand motion used by the softball pitchers ensures that the ball moves upward towards the batter.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Can we steal the bases in Softball as we do in a baseball game?

In baseball, stealing the base is common and can be done whenever the umpire calls play. But in Softball, stealing the base is prohibited unless decided for certain situations.

Q2. Why are softball players called out for hitting the ball lightly?

The practice of hitting the ball lightly within the infield area but away from the fielders is called bunting.

Unlike baseball, where it is acceptable, it is not allowed in Softball. This is why softball players can get called out.

Q3. What is a single, a double, and a triple in baseball and Softball?

When a batter hits the ball, he has to run across all four bases to complete a run. If a batter reaches the first base, it is called a single.

Similarly, if the batter runs up to the second or third base, it will be called a double or a triple. 

Q4. What do we mean by strike zone?

A Strike zone is an imaginary region decided by the umpire where the pitcher must throw. Throwing outside, it will be called a ‘ball.’ The strike zone is usually from the batter’s chest level to the knees.

Q5. What is meant by a foul ball?

A ball is called a foul ball when the batter hits it, and it either lands in the foul territory or reaches the foul territory by crossing the first or third baseline. A foul ball generally leads to a strike.

bat and ball of baseball and softball

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