The Basic Rules of Softball


To score more runs than the opposing team. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins. 

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Photo: The Odyssey

The Pitch
Although Baseball and Softball seem very similar there are some important differences; In Softball, the pitch is delivered underhand, the ball is larger, the field is smaller, and base runners cannot leave a base until the pitcher releases the pitch.

The Ball
A regulation softball is significantly larger than a regulation baseball. A softball (yellow on the left) measures between 11.88 and 12.13 inches in circumference and weighs between 6.25 and 7.00 ounces; a baseball measures between 9.00 and 9.25 inches in circumference and weighs between 5.00 and 5.25 ounces.(source)

The Base Paths
The base paths in softball are shorter than those in baseball. When pitchers throw from 35 feet, the bases typically are 55 feet apart; when pitchers deliver balls from 40 feet, the bases usually are 60 feet apart. The smaller base paths in turn create a smaller infield area, which affects the defense of the infielders.(source)

In baseball there are nine innings and in softball there at seven innings.


1) There are 9 players on a softball team.
2) The playing field is divided into the infield and outfield
3) The lines between the bases are 60' apart and when joined they form a «diamond», inside the baseline is known as the infield
4) Outside the baseline but inside the playing field is called the outfield.
Any ball going outside the 1st or 3rd base line is a foul ball ( runners can not advance and the batter gets another try unless the ball was caught in the air, which translates to an out)
5) An official game is 7 innings (an inning is when both teams have had their turn to bat). The visiting team bats in the first half of each inning, called the «top of the
inning;» the home team bats in the second half of each inning, called the «bottom
of the inning.»
6) There is no set time that an inning lasts; each half of the inning continues until the defense accumulates three outs. If the game is tied after the last inning, the game goes into «extra innings,» and continues until one team holds a lead at the end of an inning.(source)


Untitled design (28) Photo: Bangor Daily News

1) The pitcher must have both feet on the pitcher's rubber and can only take one step forward while pitching.
2) The ball must be thrown underhand.
3) Both hands must be on the ball at the start of the pitch. (source)


Untitled design (29)

1) Batters must follow the same order throughout the whole game
2) The batter is out if and when:
a) Three strikes have been called
b) A fly ball is caught
c) The batter does not stand in the batter's box. (source)


Untitled design (30) Photo: Portland Press Harold

1) Runners must touch each base in order
2) Runners may overrun 1st base only, all other bases the runner may be tagged and called out if they are off the base.
3) Runners can not lead off a base, they must be on base until the ball as left the
pitcher's hand
4) After a fly ball has been caught the base runner must tag the occupied base before
5) advancing to the next base
6) One base runner can not pass another base runner that is ahead of them.
7) Stealing a base is not permitted
8) A runner is out if:
a) they are tagged with the ball before reaching a base
b) the ball gets to 1st base before the runner
c) they run more than 3 feet out of the base line to avoid being tagged. (source)


1) Ball: a legally pitched ball that does not enter the strike zone (four balls equals a walk)
2) Grounder: A ball that is hit on the ground
3) Force out: when the runner has to advance to the next base to make room for the following base runner.
4) Fly ball: ball hit up in the air to the outfield
5) On deck: the next batter
6) Pop up: ball hit up in the air to the infield
7) Strike: term used when a ball is swung at and missed or is called when the ball enters the strike zone and is not swung at all.
8) Strike zone: the ball passes the batter over the plate between their chest and knees
9) Infield: The infield is that portion of the field in fair territory which includes areas
normally covered by infielders
10) Outfield: The part of the field beyond the diamond, or infield. It is occupied by the fielders and it is farthest from the batsman.
11) Foul Lines: Two lines (first and third base line) that distinguish fair territory from foul territory.

12) Fair Territory: Fair territory is that part of the playing field within and including the first and third base foul lines from home plate to the extreme playing field fence and
perpendicularly upward.
13) Batter's Box: Box marked with chalk near home plate that a batter must stay within
while batting.
14) Bases: Home plate is one corner of a diamond with bases at each corner. The bases other than home plate are 15 in (38 cm) square, of canvas or a similar material, and not more than 5 in (13 cm) thick. The bases are numbered counter clockwise as first base, second base, and third base
15) Pitcher's Mound: Located near the center of the diamond it is the spot from where the pitcher throws the ball.
16) Foul Poles: Poles stationed at the end of each foul line to distinguish fair territory from foul territory.
17) Double play: A play in which the defense records two outs.
18) Triple Play: A play during which the defense records three outs.
19) Tag Out: A base runner that is not on a base when she or he is tagged by a player with the ball. The defense must create three "outs" before it can switch to defense. Outs can be by strike out, force out, fly out or tag out.
20) Hit: A batted ball that allows a batter to safely reach base.
21) Home Run: Fair ball hit over the outfield fence between the two foul poles.
22) Run: An offensive player safely tags home plate.
23) Strike Out: Occurs during an at-bat when a batter accumulates three strikes, at which point the at-bat ends and the player is called out.
24) Umpires make the decisions about play in a softball game. The number of umpires in a game can range from a minimum of one to a maximum of seven. There is never more than one "plate umpire"; there can be up to three "base umpires", and up to a further three umpires positioned in the outfield. Most games use a crew of two umpires (one plate umpire, one base umpire). The umpire's decisions are usually indicated by both the use of hand signals, and by vocalizing the call.
25) Safe: Called when a base runner reaches a base without getting tagged out or avoids
a force out.
26) Walk: Player advances to 1st base when 4 consecutive pitches were called as balls.
27) Hit and run: Base runner advances to the next base when the pitch is released, knowing
that the batter is swinging at the pitch.
28) Line drive: Ball hit with a trajectory almost parallel to the ground.
29) Sacrifice: A batter strategically hits the ball into an out situation to advance or score a runner. Usually a «sacrifice bunt» or «sacrifice fly.»


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