difference between softball and baseball

Difference Between Softball and Baseball


Softball and baseball are two similar yet different sports. Both sports involve hitting a ball with a bat and running bases, but the ball, field, and rules of the game differ. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between softball and baseball.


The most prominent difference between softball and baseball is the ball. Softballs are larger than baseballs and are less dense. A softball measures around 12 inches in circumference, while a baseball has a circumference of 9 inches. The larger size of the softball makes it easier to hit, but it also makes it slower than baseballs.


Baseball fields are significantly larger than softball fields. Baseball fields have a distance of 90 feet between bases, and the distance between the pitcher’s mound and home plate is 60 feet and 6 inches. Softball fields, on the other hand, have a shorter distance between bases of 60 feet, and the distance between the pitcher’s mound and home plate is only 43 feet.

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Pitching Delivery

Another significant difference between softball and baseball is the way the ball is pitched. In baseball, the pitcher throws the ball overhand, and the ball can reach up to 100 miles per hour. Softball, on the other hand, is usually pitched underhand, and the pitch is slower, reaching speeds of around 60 miles per hour.


Softball and baseball have different rules that affect gameplay. In softball, most leagues use the “mercy rule,” which ends the game if one team is ahead by ten runs or more after five innings. Baseball does not have a mercy rule, and the game continues until all nine innings are played, regardless of how far ahead one team is.

Another critical rule difference is that softball requires the batter to keep both feet in the batter’s box until the pitcher has released the ball, whereas baseball allows the batter to step out of the box between pitches.


In conclusion, the differences between softball and baseball are significant. The ball, field, pitching delivery, and rules are all different. The differences between the two sports make them unique and provide for different styles of play. Understanding these differences is essential, whether you’re playing or watching the games.

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Table difference between softball and baseball

Softball and Baseball Comparison

Softball and Baseball Comparison

Feature Softball Baseball
Ball Size 11-12 inches in circumference 9 inches in circumference
Pitcher Underhanded pitching Overhanded pitching
Field Size Smaller than baseball field Larger than softball field
Number of Players 10 players 9 players
Inning Length 7 innings 9 innings
Bat Size 2 ¼ inches in diameter 2 5/8 inches in diameter
Game Pace Generally faster pace Generally slower pace
Lead-Offs Not allowed Allowed
Stealing Bases Only after the pitcher releases the ball Allowed any time when the ball is live