Softball Vs. Baseball: What Are the Similarities and Differences?
Many people mistakenly assume that because the fields and the equipment look the similar, baseball and softball are the same sport. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are several differences, aside from the size of the ball, that set the two sports apart.
Level Pitching Mound
In baseball, the pitching mound is slightly elevated so when the ball is pitched it angles downward. In softball, the pitching mound is level making it easier for the pitcher to keep the ball within the strike zone. In softball, a pitch is delivered underhand, unlike baseball which uses an overhand or sidearm motion.
Shorter Distance from the Pitcher's Mound to Home Plate
In softball, the distance between the pitcher's mound and home plate is also much shorter than in baseball. The distance normally ranges from 35 to 40 feet depending on the age and experience level of the players. With softball, more emphasis is placed on how the game is pitched than how it is fielded.
Another difference has to do with the size of the ball. A softball is much larger than a baseball in both circumference and weight. Softballs are larger and have a circumference of approximately 12 inches and can weigh up to seven ounces. A baseball, on the other hand, is approximately nine inches around and has a weight of up to 5.25 ounces.
If you look closely at baseball and softball bats, you can notice subtle differences there as well. The barrels of most softball bats are wider than those used for baseball. In some softball leagues, there are limits to the types of bats that can be used.
Shorter Base Lines
In softball, the baselines are much shorter than on a traditional baseball diamond. This shortens the infield and takes into account the shorter pitching distances. A smaller infield also affects how the defense is played. In terms of size, if a pitcher must throw for 35 feet, the baselines are approximately 55 apart.
For many, baseball is a sport typically played by boys and softball is mostly played by girls. This may be true in some areas, but the fact is both boys and girls thrive in either sport. Adults have taken to playing softball mainly because it is less stressful on the pitching arm. Both sports are equally exciting for all age groups. Check at any park or ball diamond in the spring and summer, and you are sure to find both kids and adults tossing a ball and trying to figure out how to hit the perfect home run.