Baseball vs. Softball

Many people mistake baseball and softball for one sport with multiple names.

It can be hard to understand the differences between baseball and softball if you're not familiar with any of the two.

In this post, we will discuss baseball and softball, their differences, similarities, and all you should know about these sports.

Let's dive in!



Differences Between Softball and Baseball

Despite the close link between these two sports, some important differences exist.

Playing Field

The playing field is one of the most apparent differences between baseball and softball.

On a baseball pitch, the bases are separated by 90 feet. Whereas on a softball field, the bases are 60 feet apart.

While the exact dimensions may vary based on the player's age, the softball fields are generally smaller than baseball.

Ball

Baseball balls are white with red stitching and have an overall circumference of 9 inches.

On the other hand, softballs are larger, with a circumference of 12 inches. They are yellow in color and are softer than baseballs.

Junior softball players use a ball that is a bit smaller in size, with a circumference of 10 inches, making it more comfortable for their small hands.

Bat

While they look similar, baseball bats are larger and broader. They also have a bigger diameter and weigh more than softball bats.

Softball bats are mostly made from metal, wood, or other materials.

However, in professional baseball matches, only bats made of wood are allowed.

Pitching

The pitching distance varies between baseball and softball.

And as you know, softball is played on a much smaller field than baseball.

So naturally, the ball is pitched no further than 43 feet from the field in softball. The pitching surface in softball is flat.

A baseball is pitched from about a 60 feet distance. And unlike softball, a baseball is thrown from an elevated surface.

Game Duration

Baseball games have nine innings and can be extended to extra innings when a game is tied.

Whereas softball games last for seven innings but can be ended earlier when one team holds an advantage over the other.

Base Line

In softball, the baselines are smaller than on a conventional baseball field.

The infield is also shorter considering the shorter distances for pitching.

The size of the infield can affect the way defences are played.

In terms of size, a pitcher has to throw 35 feet, and the baselines are 55 feet apart.

Popularity

Baseball is one of the most-watched sports in America, but softball is more popular among people who would rather play than watch.

So if you’re looking to start a sports equipment selling business between the two, a softball accessories business would be the more lucrative option.

Worldwide sales of softball equipment are expected to reach more than $550 million in revenues by 2026.

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Similarities Between Softball and Baseball

Now that we know the difference between the two games, let's look at some of the similarities between the two games.

Scoring Method

The scoring system used in baseball and softball is basically the same.

The goal in both sports is to score more runs. The team that scores the most runs wins.

In each sport, players score runs by circling the bases before reaching the home plate. Each team gets three outs in an inning playing.

A swing and a miss are regarded as a strike in both sports.

And three strikes are considered an out, and batters are awarded the base for four balls.

Equipment/Gear

While some pieces of gear might be different, the essential equipment needed in both sports is the same.

Both softball and baseball are played with a ball, bat, and gloves.

Again, the necessary protective gear is also similar, including helmets, shin pads, and chest guards.

Fielding Positions

The number of players fielding against the batting side is the same in both sports.

Nine fielders are allowed to field on the ground when the batter is batting.

These nine fielders also have the same positions in both sports.

These fielding positions include catcher, pitcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop, center fielder, left fielder, and a right fielder.

Who Plays Softball or Baseball?

Many believe baseball is a boys' game, while softball is for girls.

But that's far from the actual truth.

Both boys and girls can advance in any sport, either baseball or softball.

Nowadays, adults are playing softball because it's less tense on the pitching arm and is equally thrilling as baseball.

You can visit any park during the summer, and you're sure to find children and adults throwing a ball around and playing baseball or softball.

The majority of softball and baseball enthusiasts are Americans.

In fact, North America is set to become the largest wholesale softball gear market by 2026.

Conclusion

The basics of baseball and softball are quite alike. Both sports require pitching, bats, balls, and running. Both use a similar range of skills. However, because of some key differences, it's clear that both sports aren't the same.

Both games are unique in their own way, and every sport has fans who believe one sport is superior to the other. Softball and baseball pose various challenges for the players, but they are equally fun in their own way.



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More Softball

Softball is more than just a female version of baseball (see the differences). There is slow pitch and fast pitch (which is at the Olympics). There is lots of softball equipment you can buy, too.

Sport Extra

Check out the 800+ sports in the Encyclopedia of Every Sport. Well not every sport, as there is a list of unusual sports, extinct sports and newly created sports. How to get on these lists? See What is a sport? We also have sports winners lists, and about major sports events and a summary of every year.

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