Softball & Baseball Differences

Softball was invented in 1887 in Chicago, USA as a direct off-shoot of baseball. The key differences between traditional softball and baseball are that in softball:

  • The ball is always pitched under-arm. In baseball the ball is usually pitched over-arm. For an exciting demonstration of the difference between softball and baseball pitching see episode 7 of FSN Sport Science.

  • The regulation ball is larger, less dense and heavier than a regulation baseball. It is however not particularly soft, especially when pitched at speed!
  • The bats used are generally not as thick as baseball bats. However, at the junior level softball and baseball bats are interchangeable
  • The diamond and the playing field are smaller
  • The game is 7 innings long, as opposed to 9 innings in professional baseball
  • The pitcher’s area is a flat circle (in baseball it’s a raised mound) and generally the pitching distance is shorter
  • A tie-breaker rule is used after 7 innings
  • The re-entry rule is used
  • A designated player (DP) can be used