|Pictured above, a regulation baseball compared to a regulation softball. The baseball (white and smaller) to the left, and the softball (yellow and larger) to the right.|
|Regulation baseball||Measures at 9.25 inches in circumference and weighs 5.25 ounces.|
|Regulation softball||Measures at 12.13 inches in circumference and weighs 7.00 ounces.|
Aside from the difference in the size and structure of the balls, baseball and softball are very similar sports; however, they contain a different set of rules and regulations. As far as game rules, most of them are the same (walk, homerun, steal, etc.).
The basepaths in softball are significantly smaller in distance compared to those in baseball. At a youth/little league level, pitchers deliver the ball from 40 feet away and the bases are 60 feet apart. At the advanced level (varsity, collegiate, professional), pitchers deliver the ball from 60 feet away and the bases are 90 feet apart. In softball, no matter at which level, pitchers stand 35 feet from home plate and the bases are 55 feet apart. The smaller distance between basepaths result in a smaller infield and lead to different defensive strategies.
Outfield measurements vary greatly, depending on the level and structure of the field. A typical distance from the outfield to home plate in softball is about 150-175 feet for youth players, and 225-250 feet for older, next-level players. The standard baseball field is about 200-250 feet for youth baseball players, and 275-350 feet for varsity players. At a professional level, the distance between the outfield fence and home plate can get up to 420 feet.
At the youth level, baseball and softball bats are nearly identical in size and stature. At the advanced levels of softball, players use specific bats, which are significantly larger in width and contain different material compared to baseball bats. In baseball, players typically use metal bats which vary in length, depending on the size/strength of the player. On a professional level, baseball players use wooden bats which make it more difficult to hit the baseball harder and further in distance.
When it comes to pitching, baseball and softball follow different rules and regulations on the mound.
In baseball, pitchers stand on a pitching mound which allows them to deliver the ball a couple feet off the ground (eye level) to the batter. In softball, pitchers do not have a pitching mound and they deliver the ball on level ground with the batter. Another key difference is the motion in which the respective pitchers release the ball. In baseball, pitchers have the ability to throw the ball overhand or sidearm. In softball, pitchers must deliver the ball in an underhand motion.