Its Own Game

All About Softball, By Caitlin Warner

The History of Softball

Softball has a history that makes it what it is today, people influenced it by shaping and criticing it until they formed the softball we play today. It all starded in about 1887 when a group of men went to the Chicago's Farragut Boat Club and one man threw a boxing glove and another hit it with a stick making it sail over the " pitchers" head. George Hancock then developed the rules for indoor softball, except later Lewis Rober gets the credit for moving the game outdoors in 1885. At first the game was called Kitten ball because that was the name of Lewis Rober's first team. The name changed from Kitten ball to Mush ball, indoor baseball, playground baseball, diamond ball, and finally to softball. Once women started playing, the Chicago World Fair of 1993 helped host the first softball tournament for both men and women. After the tournament Leo Fischer, a reporter who wrote about the tounament, found the Amatuer Softball Association ( ASA). Softball has been played at the worldwide level since 1960, but it took an extra 30 years until it became a Summer Olympic sport in 1996. Softball has a long history that makes it the sport we play today.

Basic Rules of Softball

Rules of softball are different depending on who is playing, whether its women or men. For example, women pitch from 40 feet away from the plate. Although men pitch 46 feet away from home plate. In other instances the rules are the same, like both men and women run 60 feet inbetween each base. Also, pitching is only done in an underhand " windmill" motion. In relation to pitching, a runner may not steal or lead off until the ball leaves the pitchers hand, once the ball is pitched the runner may choose what they wish to do ( as long as they get to a base when its thrown back). The average softball game is about 7 innings long. Regulations include bats having to be no longer than 34 inches and not larger than 2 1/4 inches in diameter. Softball like any other sport has rules and regulations to make the game organized and interesting.

How does Softball differ from Baseball?

Softball is definitely its own game, even though it can be confused with baseball. One very noticeable difference is the pitching. Baseball pitchers pitch from an elevated mound and softball pitchers pitch at surface level. Also, softballs are pitched closer to home plate than baseballs. In addition, softball pitchers pitch in an underhand motion while baseball pitchers pitch overhand. Another noticeble feature is the ball. Baseballs are smaller and harder and softballs are bigger and softer. On the other hand a not so noticeable feature is the baselines. Baseball baselines are 90 feet apart when softball baselines are 60 feet apart. In addition to bases stealing and leading off is different. When stealing or leading off in softball the runners must wait until the ball leaves the pitchers hand. Although in baseball the runners can steal or lead off whenever they would like. Finally, normal baseball games are about 9- innings and softball games are about 7. In the end softball is definietely its own game and will always be different from baseball.

Slap Hitting

Slap hitting is something that usually isn't thought of when softball is mentioned. Although it is a very important piece to the game. Most higher level softball teams have at LEAST one slap hitter. For example, the Troy High softball team has two slap hitters who go up to bat. There are a couple requirements to become a slap hitter. First, the batter must be above average speed ( fast). Also, they must be able to hit a full speed pitch while already running to first. The three main types of slap hitting the player will need to learn are the drag bunt, soft slap, and hard slap. Sometimes coaches will play around and develop more advanced slap hitting to confuse other teams.

The drag bunt is a bunt, but done a little faster. When the pitcher goes into her pitching motion the batter ( slap hitter) takes their back foot and brings it forward, crossing over the front, then the batter takes the bat and holds it out infront or " squares to bunt". From there the bunt hopefully gets laid down and the hitter sprints to first base.

The soft slap is like the bunt, but is hit a little differently and a bit harder. The steps are the same, the batter will cross over, but instead of bunting they will bring the bat close to their stomach and slap it inbetwen either the third baseman and the short stop or the pitcher and short stop. Then the batter will sprint to first base.

The hard slap is similar yet different. The steps are the same, but done a little slower because the batter will take a strong, regular swing. When the pitch comes in the batter will start slowly crossing over and swing the bat hard so the ball will hopefully pass the infield and then the batter will be safe at first. If slap hitting is done right, coach Tom Cahallan ( Troy High softball coach) says that they will almost always be safe on base.

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