The two very popular sports – softball and baseball are similar in so many ways you might think it’s the same sport but played with a different color ball. But, in reality these two sports have a lot of big differences including equipment, field size and pitching.

If you want to learn more about the differences between baseball and softball, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s check them out.

Field Size

The most evident difference between softball and baseball is the field they are played on with the baseball one being bigger. The distance between the sides of a baseball field is 325ft while the distance on the softball field is 190ft. Also, the distance between the bases in softball in 60ft where’s the distance in softball is 90ft. Mound to plate difference in distance is 17ft, in softball being 43ft and in baseball 60ft and 6in.

Softball Field
Baseball Field

Number of players

In baseball, the number of players who participate in a game is 9. Softball, a sport which has two versions – fastpitch and slowpitch has 9 players participating in a fastpitch game and 10 in slowpitch.

Equipment

Bats

We begin this segment of differences in the equipment between softball and baseball with the main differences between the types of bats used for both sports. While looking from afar the bats used for both sports look exactly the same, when you look a little bit closer there are some differences. The main one is the material that the bats are made from – in professional baseball a bat has to be made from wood but in professional softball bats are usually made from composite materials, sometimes alloy (aluminum) and rarely from wood.

The second difference is the length of the bats. Baseball ones can be up to 42in in length and the softball bats up to 34in.

There is a limit on weight also, but it is not a big one – 5 ounces. Baseball bats can weigh 33 ounces and softball ones up to 38 ounces.

Barrel diameter is another small difference. Baseball bats range from 2 1/4″ to 2 3/4″ in diameter and the softball ones usually being 2 1/4″.

Both the softball and baseball hitters use same type of bats for their preferred playing style. Contact hitters prefer a lighter, balanced bat, while power hitters favor a more end-loaded, heavier bat.

Softball And Baseball Bats Comparison

Balls

The balls used for softball and baseball have a huge difference in many aspects.

Firstly, they are not the same size as the softball is larger and has 12in in circumference whilst the baseball has 9in, making for a 3in difference.

Secondly, the weight is different. Softball weights from 6.25 to 7.00 ounces and the baseball weights from 9.00 to 9.25 ounces. So, softball is much larger and heavier then the regulation baseball.

Now we come to the most obvious difference between the two balls and that is the color. Baseball has white color and red stitches but softball is colored in yellow, making it more recognizable and easier to see.

Softball and baseball

Gloves

Because the ball size is different (softball being bigger), the design of the gloves for softball and baseball can’t be the same. Softball gloves have a much deeper pocket because of the larger ball while baseball ones have a smaller one and because of that we also see that the wall is different between the two types of gloves. Also, there is a slight size difference between the two.

But, if you are just starting to play softball there is no problem in trying to use the baseball glove (if you happen to have one) at the very beginning if you can’t afford a quality softball glove.

If you put the softball and baseball gloves side to side you wouldn’t see the differences right away because they are not that huge. But as we said, since there are slight differences in the design and feel, we would recommend that if you play softball regularly, that you purchase a quality softball glove instead of using a baseball one.

Pitching

This is a massive difference in the playing style between these sports. In baseball, players pitch the baseball overhead or sidearm but in softball pitchers use underhand technique.

Game Length

In the sport of softball you win a game if you play 7 innings and time to complete that game usually takes about an hour. Baseball, on the other hand, has 9 innings and to complete a game of baseball will take you approximately 2 hours longer.

Origins of softball and baseball

Both sports originated in the US in the 19th century. Baseball originated in 1839 in Cooperstown, NY while softball was founded 48 years later, in 1887 to be exact. The founding place of softball was Chicago, IL and in it’s very beginning it was played indoors and was called “indoor baseball”.