Pesapallo

By: Max Schmucker

Pesapallo Origin

It was first introduced to Finland in 1922 by Lauri "Wheatstone" Pihkala after he had recently visited the U.S. in 1907. It is often called the national sport of Finland and is also played in Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia and Ontario. About 10% of all Finland people are active Pesopallo players. All children learn to play it as a part of the school curriculum. Pesopallo, Cricket, and American baseball all share some of the same roots as they are closely related.

Pesapallo Rules

A regulation Pesäpallo game is played in two periods of four innings each. A period is won by the team which scores more runs in its offensive half-innings. If the periods are tied, there will be an extra inning; if needed, there is a round (similar to a penalty shoot-out) where each team tries to bring a player home from the third base. During an inning both teams take turns playing batting and fielding. The pitch is delivered by throwing the ball directly upwards above the plate. The batter has three strikes available during their turn at bat. A pitch counts as a strike if the batter takes a swing at the ball or if the umpire rules the pitch legal. A hit is foul if the ball first touches the field outside of the boundaries. If a fielder catches the ball before it reaches the ground, the hit is a "catch". Players who have been caught are removed from the field, but they do not count as outs. The runner reaches safety on a base by touching the base area before the ball is thrown to a fielder in the base. The batter is also put out if the third strike is foul. If a batter advances to the third base on their batted ball, it is a "home run".

Different Kinds of "Hits"

  • Snap hit: Usually used for moving along fast runners between bases, hit so the fielders will have a tough time making a play on it. Usually hit in such way that the ball takes a hard spin.
  • Fly hit: An intentional high hit to be caught, used mostly to advance fast runners.
  • High drive: Hit to land in the field between infield and outfield, with a top spin. Excellent for scoring.
  • Bouncer: Used for advancing fast runners, hit downwards very hard to be bounced at an obscure angle. Aimed towards the base runner is leaving, or to the middle of the field. Technically very hard to perform, used only by experienced players.

Hyvinkään Tahko

Hyvinkää Tahko has won the men's Finnish Pesäpallo Championship, (Superpesis) four times, between 1979–1981, and in 2007. The Women's Championship Tahko has won twice in 1979 and 1983. Tahkon's home ground is the Pihkala Pesäpallo stadium.

Equipment

Glove

The glove is used to ease catching the ball when playing a defensive inning. The glove used in pesapallo differs from the one used in baseball both in characteristics and in appearance, resembling more a hockey goalkeeper's glove .

The ball is caught into the glove's cup between the thumb and the index finger.

Bat

The bat is a round, tapered cylinder. Previously the bats used in pesäpallo were made of wood. These were fairly brittle and did not last very long when used to hit such a heavy ball. Now, wooden bats are only used in children's games and the bats used in adult's games are made of a mixture of glass fiber and carbon fiber.

Spikes

The use of spiked shoes—like in running—is not required to play pesäpallo.

There are only a few manufacturers producing spikes designed for pesäpallo and many players use normal running spikes.

Ball

The ball used in pesapallo is yellow and has a circumference of 21.60–22.20 centimeters.

Competitions

The Finnish championship series is known as Superpesis. Both men and women compete in their own series.

A World Cup is played internationally every three years. In 2006 the fifth World Cup was played in Munich, Germany. Participant countries included Australia, Finland, Germany and Sweden. The sixth World Cup took place from July 8–11, 2009 in Pori, Finland, with teams from Australia, Finland, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.

Antti Kuusisto (kossu) tuo juoksun.