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GEORGIA COLLEGE & STATE UNIVERSITY

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Baseball and softball: What’s the difference?

Baseball and softball look very similar from the outside. However, there are obvious discrepancies between the two, such as the size of the field, the size of the ball and the distance from the pitcher’s area to home plate. 

 

Though there are different aspects to each game, the blueprints of both are similar. 

 

“In my opinion, there is not a huge difference between softball and baseball,” said senior Jessica Hayles, a softball player. “You still play the game three outs, three strikes to get what you need to do done. Outfielders play similar games: see ball, catch ball, throw ball. And the infielders also play closely related games.”

 

According to baseball head coach Jason Eller, pitching is the biggest difference between the two sports. Softball’s pitching is underhand while baseball’s pitching is overhand. 

 

In softball, the pitcher throws from a level that is equal to that of the hitter, while in baseball the pitcher throws from an elevated mound. 

 

There is also a pitch limit in baseball that does not apply to softball players.

 

“[Baseball players] can only throw so many pitches where our pitcher could play three games in a row,” said softball head coach Jamie Grodecki. “The duration from our pitchers is different because we can do more solely because of the motion. Our base running game, as well as theirs, is based off of the pitchers.”

 

Pitching differences lead to softball moving at a quicker pace. On the softball field, the game is faster due to the tighter space and shorter reaction time. It also typically has seven innings while baseball typically has nine.

 

“[The softball] game is played at a lot faster pace in my opinion,” Eller said. “They are on top of each other with the dimensions of the field. I enjoy watching them play because they keep their fans engaged.” 

 

Along with the game moving faster, softball players often employ different strategies to have success. 

 

“It’s different styles, and you can hit-run a lot more in softball,” said senior Brandon Purcell, a baseball player.

 

Lastly, the major difference is the size of the ball. The balls look very similar, but the softball is much larger.

 

Despite the differences in the game, both the coaches and players of both teams seem to think that the overall skills required from both sports are similar.

 

“We play more of a short game than baseball, with the bunting, slapping and station to station hitting,” Grodecki said. “I do not think one sport is more difficult than the other. I would say on an entertainment factor, softball may gain more interest from people who like to watch a game move a little bit faster.”

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