Top 10 Differences between Softball and Baseball

by Lindsey Carter

Softball and baseball both need gloves, balls, and bats in the field. The pitcher throws the ball and batter hit the ball.

Both are the same, right?


Well, asking a noob player might result in an affirmative answer. The basic concept is pretty similar to both. But, there are some subtle differences between softball and baseball.

Statista reports 9.69 million people played softball only in 2018. You can easily realize how popular it is!

In this article, we will find out the core differences between these lookalike sports. Let’s start the journey together.

What are the core differences between Softball and Baseball?

What are the core differences between Softball and Baseball?
What are the core differences between Softball and Baseball?

The core differences between these sports are bat, ball, pitching style, playing field, game duration, etc. Scroll down to get an in-depth difference between those.

1. Bat

The outlook of a bat is the same for both softball and baseball. The main focus here is the length and diameter.

Bats used in baseball matches are mainly 34 inches (86.4 cm) in length, and the diameter is around 2.25 inches.

These bats are quite slender than the baseball bats. And the max drop of softball bats is12 inches.

In terms of weight, the softball weight could max1007 grams. As the softballs are mainly played indoor, it’s better to keep the weight as lightweight as possible.

On the contrary, the length of a full-size baseball bat is about42 inches (106.7 cm). The 42 inches bats are suitable for the international matches. The local leagues mainly support 34 inches bats only.

If you want to teach your kid about hitting the baseball, you should choose the smaller bat. Your youngster will feel more comfortable with the smaller bat.

2. Ball

Another difference between these sports is the size, weight, and color of the ball. Probably, this is the most significant difference amongst baseball and softball.

A measurement of a regular baseball is between 9 to 9.25 inches. It weighs around 5 to 5.25 ounces. But the softballs are comparatively more substantial than the regular baseballs. The dimension of these balls rangesfrom11.88 to 12.13 inches and weighs nearly 6.25 to 7 ounces.

And here comes the color ball color. People can differentiate these by looking at the balls only.

The baseball comes in white color with red stitches. On the other hand, the softballs are colored in deep yellow. The yellow color makes the ball more visible while throwing from a short distance.

3. Field Dimension

Differences Between Softball And Baseball
Differences Between Softball And Baseball

You might be already realized that the softball was started as an indoor game. When George Hancock started the softball trend, he actually makes a smaller version of baseball.

Have a look at the distance of the field dimensions.

  • The distance between each base is 60 feet for softballs and 90 feet for the baseball field.
  • The outfield fence is around 400 feet away from the home plate. But, it is only 220 feet for softball.
  • And the distance between pitcher rubber and home plate is 60 feet for baseball and 46 feet for softball.

4. Pitching style

Besides the ball color, another most noticeable difference between softball and baseball is the pitching style.

The softball pitchers throw the ball in underhand style. But the baseball players have to pitch the ball in sidearm or overhead style.

5. Pitching distance

Though baseball has a fixed pitching distance, it varies from level by level in the softball industry.

  • The distance is 40 feet (12.19 meter) for armature women’s level
  • 43 feet (13.11 meter) for high school level tournaments and
  • 46 feet (14.02 meter) for college or international tournaments.

In baseball, the distance is always 60 feet 6 inches (18.44 meters).

6. Level pitching mound

In softball, the pitching mound is properly leveled. It helps the pitcher to pitch the ball within the strike zone.

Nonetheless, the pitching mound is slightly elevated in baseball.A standard pitcher mound is nearly 10 inches above the field.It makes the ball angles downward after pitching.

7. Ball griping

The ball size isn’t the same in baseball and softball. Thus the ball gripping style is also different in both of these.

  • In softball, the players hold the ball by placing their ring, index, and middle finger on the seam and the pinky finger on the side.
  • The baseball players put the middle and index finger straightly in the seam for throwing fast.

It’s not mandatory to follow these tricks strictly. Grip the ball just in your comfortable way. But, following these tips will help you to get a smoother gripping experience.

8. Lead-Offs

There is a simple difference in regards to the lead-offs. In softball, the batter or runner can lead-off only when the pitcher releases the ball. Nevertheless, the baseball players can attempt for lead-off whenever the ball is in motion.

9. Uniform

Uniforms are definitely one of the best ways to differentiate softball and baseball tournaments.

Remember, the jersey, shirt, or helmet is the same for both sports. Only the pant size is different here. A typical baseball pant covers the full leg of the player. But, the softball pant only covers the past of knees. By the way, a knee-high sock is preferable while playing softball.

10. Game length

If you want to differentiate the games in terms of innings time, baseball will win this point. The college baseball requires nine innings to complete a tournament properly.

Nonetheless, you don’t have to play that long to complete a softball match. Just like the high school or college baseball matches, softball requires only seven innings to complete a match.

Even if you want to differentiate these sports by match time, baseball is still the winner. Though Major League Baseball is trying to shorten the time, yet it takes about three hours. By the way, a typical softball match doesn’t need more than 60 minutes to be completed.

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Final Words

The differences between softball and baseball are really subtle. Though both of these sports might share some similarities, it doesn’t mean these are exactly the same sports.

After reading this article, hope that you can find out the differences between those. So, no more “baseball and softball is the same” speech again, okay?

If you have any further inquiries about baseball, feel free to throw the question via the comment box.

Keep hitting the ball!

About Lindsey Carter

Lindsey and Mike C. grew up in the same neighborhood. They also went to the same Cholla Middle School together. The two famillies from time to time got together for BBQ parties...

Lindsey's family relocated to California after middle school. They occasiotnally emailed each other to update what's going on in their lives.

She received Software Engineering degree from U.C. San Francisco. While looking for work, she was guided by Mike for an engineering position at the company Mike is working for. Upon passing the job interview, Lindsey was so happy as now she could finally be back to where she'd like to grow old with.

Lindset occasionally guest posted for Mike, adding other flavors to the site while helping diverse his over-passion for baseball.

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