The basic rules of softball have many similarities to baseball. But, there are a few significant differences for the 'softer' recreational game.
ISF SOFTBALL RULES: The three most noticeable differences between softball regulations and baseball are the smaller field size, larger strike zone, and a ball pitched underhand in slow pitch recreation games.
Softball Rules and Regulations were first created as a game for ladies called indoor baseball in Chicago around 1887.
Other common names for the modern day sport include kitten ball, mush ball, and playground.
The playful and amusement sport is widely popular throughout North America but there are professional leagues played in the United Kingdom, Europe, and in Asia.
Rules of Softball UK
Aim of the Playing Softball Game
The aim in a softball game is to hit the ball with a bat and then run around an infield of four bases without being given out.
Softball Pitch Playing Field
Often in recreational softball regulations, the pitch dimensions are whatever size is available at the time.
The in-field should have four bases which form a diamond shape.
The batter stands at home base and the other three are first base, second base and third base.
Home plate is where the pitcher stands to throw the ball and located found in the center of the field.
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Softball Rules for Equipment
The basic equipment used in softball is a bat made from aluminium or composite material, protective softball gloves (called mitts), and a caged batting helmet.
As a rule the catcher will wear catching gear which includes a chest plate and shin guards.
Cleats are a specialised sports shoe which are good for providing grip while running between bases or on the field.
A softball team is allowed a maximum of nine players who may be all male, all female, or mixed gender.
General Regulations for Softball
Typically, a game lasts for 7 innings which is split into two sections called the top and bottom of the innings with each team batting once per innings.
As a rule the away team bats first at the top of the innings whilst the home team field then switching so that the home team bats at the bottom of the innings.
The batting order cannot be changed once it is set at the start of the game.
Each half of an inning (top and bottom) is played until the fielding team makes three outs.
The fielding team consists of:
One player on first base
A player at second base
One at third base
Three deep fielders
One playing at short stop
When you are batting you must successfully strike the ball and run around as many bases as possible.
Making a run means you get all the way around and back to home plate without being given out.
Fielding teams will attempt to prevent the run by:
Making the batsman miss the ball
Catching the ball
Tagging one of the bases before the runner reaches it
Tagging the batsmen whilst they are running with the ball in hand
Down the first and third base line is a foul area and the ball is 'dead' with a new pitch restart if it crosses this line before it bounces.
A home run occurs by hitting the ball over the outfield and into a dead ball area allowing the batters to stroll around the bases to score.
The pitcher must throw the ball underarm with at least one foot on the plate during the point of delivery.
A batsman is ruled out if:
You are caught by a fielder without the ball bouncing.
You miss the ball three times (called strike).
You are tagged by a fielder holding the ball whilst running between bases.
If the pitcher fails to get the ball within the strike zone 4 times without a stroke being made, the batsman can be walked to first base.
Scoring in Softball
The batsman must successfully first hit the ball and make it around all the bases (without being given out) to successfully score a run.
One run is scored for every batsmen that completes one round.
A run may also be achieved if the batsmen who hit the ball does not make it round to home plate providing he gets a player home from one of the bases.
Softball Umpires and Officials
As a rule, the match umpire oversees and enforces all the softball rules UK and regulations according to the International Softball Federation (ISF).
Winning a Game of Softball
Winning the game means your team scored most runs after all 7 innings were completed.
An extra innings should be played if the match is tied until a winner gets determined.