What Is Softball?

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Softball is a game similar to baseball played with a larger ball (11 to 16 inches in diameter) on a smaller field.  Softball rules vary somewhat from those of baseball. Two major differences are that the ball must be pitched underhand and that seven innings, or 1–2 hours depending on the league, constitute a regulation game compared with nine innings in baseball.

The game moves at a faster pace than traditional baseball due to the field being smaller and the bases and the fielders being closer to home plate.

In fast pitch softball the entire infield is dirt, whereas the infield in baseball is grass except at the bases and on the pitcher's mound which are dirt. Softball mounds are also flat, while baseball mounds are a small hill. Softballs are pitched underhand, but baseballs are pitched overhand.

Despite the name, the ball used in modern softball is not soft, unless using a foam practice ball (. It is about 12 in (about 30 cm) in circumference (11 or 12 in for slow-pitch), which is 3 in (8 cm) larger than a baseball. Softball recreational leagues for children use 11-inch balls until around age 13. The infield in softball is smaller than on an adult or high school baseball diamond but identical to that used by Little League Baseball; each base is 60 ft (18 m) from the next, as opposed to baseball's 90 ft (27 m).

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