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____ In 1887 in Chicago, United States, Yale and Harvard alumni had gathered at the Farragut Boat Club in Chicago to hear the score of the annual football game.
____ When the score was announced, one person threw a boxing glove at another. the basis for a new game - softball. The other person grabbed a stick and swung at it. This spur of the moment activity formed the basis for a new game - softball.
_____ George Hancock, a reporter, then tied a boxing glove into the shape of a ball, and a broom handle was used as a bat. Hancock developed a ball and an undersized bat and the Farragut Club set rules for the game, which spread quickly.
_____ In 1895, outdoor games separate from the Farragut Club rules, were also organized as exercise for fire- fig hters. This game was known as k itten ball, pumpkin ball, or diamond ball. The sport was played internationally and Toronto organized the first softball league outside the US in 1897.
By the mid-1990s, softball was played in more than 85 countries under the auspices of the International Softball Federation (ISF), the international governing body of the sport, founded in 1952.
The first ISF Men's World Championship was held in 1966 in Mexico City, Mexico. Softball hit its way to the Asian Games in 1990 at the 11th Asian Games in Beijing, China.
1887 Date of first game: United States Country of origin: 1 - 2 hours Game length: 9-12 Players per team: 2 Number of teams: International Softball Federation Governing body:
Types of softball There are three general forms of softball: slow pitch , modified pitch and fast pitch . Fast Pitch softball is a very pitcher-oriented game. The pitcher delivers the ball at maximum speed with little to no arc. The pitch is very similar to that of one thrown by a baseball pitcher, but the two differ primarily in their throwing styles and release points:
most baseball pitchers release the ball from a point higher than the catcher's glove (overhand), whereas fast pitch softball pitchers release at a point that is lower than or equal to the height of the catcher's glove (underhand).
Modified Pitch softball strikes a balance between fast and slow pitch. The speed of the pitches are limited by not allowing the pitcher to raise their arms above their shoulders.
Slow Pitch softball gives batters more dominance by making it easier for them to hit the ball. Men's slow pitch ball type is very similar to that of the fast pitch ball type.
Equipment required in softball includes a ball, a bat, gloves, uniforms and protective gear, including helmets for the offensive team and a helmet and chest protector for the defensive catcher.
Ball Despite the sport's name, the ball itself is not soft. The size of the ball varies according to the classification of play; the permitted circumferences in international play are 12 in (30 cm) and 11 in (28 cm). The ball is most often covered in white leather in two pieces roughly the shape of a figure 8 and sewn together with red thread.
The core of the ball may be made of long fibre kapok, or a mixture of cork and rubber, or a polyurethane mixture, or another approved material. In 2002, high-visibility yellow "optic" softballs were introduced.
Bat The bat used by the batter is made of metal or composite materials. It may be no more than 34 in (86 cm) long, 2.25 in (6 cm) in diameter, or 38 oz (1.08 kg) in weight. Also, in fast pitch a "drop" of no more than 12 is allowed.
The drop is calculated by taking the length of the bat in inches and subtracting the weight in ounces. If a person is using a composite softball bat it will take a good amount of swings before the bat can be classified as broken in.
Gloves All defensive players wear fielding gloves, made of leather or similar material. Gloves have webbing between the thumb and forefinger. The first baseman and the catcher may wear mitts; mitts are distinguished from gloves in that they have extra padding, and no fingers.
In 2007, ASA and other organizations revised their rules regarding gloves and mitts, allowing any player to use a glove or mitt except for the pitcher,
Uniform Each team wears distinctive uniforms. The uniform includes a cap, a shirt, an undershirt, tight sliding under shorts, and shorts or pants; these are the components for which standards are set. Caps must be alike and are mandatory for male players.
Including for softball players, most players use "sliding shorts" otherwise known as compression short for other sports like soccer, football etc. At the back of the uniform an Arabic number from 1-99 must be visible. Numbers like 02 and 2 are considered identical. Players' names are optional.
Protective equipment All batters are required to wear batting helmets. Batting helmets must have two ear flaps, one on each side, and a protective cage. In fast pitch, the catcher must wear a protective helmet with a facemask and throat protector. At the youth level, shin guards are required. In slow pitch, the catcher must wear a helmet and mask at youth levels.
Umpires Decisions about play are made by umpires . They make the decisions like a referee in football. The number of umpires on a given 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 fast pitch games use a crew of two umpires (one plate umpire, one base umpire).
The plate umpire often uses a counter to keep track of the game
Game play A softball game can last anywhere from 3 to 9 innings , depending on the league, rules, and type of softball; however 7 innings is the most common. In each inning, each team bats until three batters have been put out . The teams take turns batting. Officially, which team bats first is decided by a coin toss.
The most common rule is that the home team bats second. Batting second is advantageous. In the event of a tie, extra innings are usually played until the tie is broken except in certain tournaments and championships. In all forms of softball, the defensive team is the fielding team ; the offensive team is at bat or batting and is trying to score runs.
Pitching The Play begins with the umpire saying " Play Ball ". The pitcher stands at the pitching plate and attempts to throw the ball past the batter to the catcher behind home plate.
The throw, or pitch, must be made with an underarm often called "windmill" motion: the ball must be released below the hip when the hand is no farther from the hip than the elbow.
However, speed is not always the most important factor in fast pitch softball. Pitchers throw balls that curve, rise or drop. A change of pace is also very important. These pitches may not always be thrown for strikes, but are thrown to deceive the batter. It is hard for a batter to swing and hit many of these pitches
Batting A batter awaits the pitch. The offensive team sends one batter at a time to home plate to use the bat to try to hit the pitch forward into fair territory. The order the players bat in, known as the batting order , must stay the same throughout the game.
The batter stands facing the pitcher inside a batter's box . The bat is held with both hands, over the shoulder away from the pitcher. The ball is usually hit with a full swinging motion in which the bat may move through more than 360 degrees. The batter usually steps forward with the front foot and swings the bat.
Once the ball is hit into fair territory the runner must try to advance to first base or beyond. While running to first base, the batter is a batter-runner . When she safely reached first she becomes a base-runner or runner.
If four balls are called, then it is a base on balls. The batter gets to advance to first without liability to be put out. If there is a runner on first that runner also advances one base without liability to be put out.
A batted ball hit high in the air is a fly ball . A batted ball driven in the air through the infield at a height at which an infielder could play it if in the right position is a line drive . A batted ball which hits the ground within the diamond is a ground ball . If a batted ball hits a player or a base it is considered to have hit the ground.
Getting the batter out The batter is out if: three strikes are called; a ball hit by the batter is caught before touching the ground; the batter is touched by the ball or by a glove holding the ball while the batter is away from a base; a fielder holding the ball touches a base which is the only base towards which the batter may run before the batter arrives there (a force out or force play ); or in certain special circumstances.
The most common type of force play is made at first base. A batter that drives a ball forward into fair territory must run to first base. If the ball is thrown to first base (that is, to a fielder standing on first base and is holding the ball) before the batter can reach it, the batter is out. A double play is when two runners are put out during a single continuous action; a triple play is when three runners are put out.
Advancing around the bases If the player hits the ball and advances to a base without a fielding error or an out being recorded, then that is called a base hit . The bases must be reached in order counterclockwise, starting with first base.
After hitting the ball the batter may advance as many bases as possible. An advance to first base on the one hit is a single , to second base is a double , to third base is a triple , and to home plate is a home run .
Scoring runs A run is scored when a player has touched all four bases in order, proceeding counterclockwise around them.
They need not be touched on the same play; a batter may remain safely on a base while play proceeds and attempt to advance on a later play.
A run is not scored if the last out occurs during the same play that the runner crosses home plate. For instance, if a runner is on third base prior to a hit, and they cross home plate before or after an out is made, either on the batter or another runner, the run is not counted.
Ending the game The team with the most runs after seven innings wins the game. The last (bottom) half of the seventh inning or any remaining part of the seventh inning is not played if the team batting second is leading.
If the game is tied, play usually continues until a decision is reached, by using the international tie-breaker rule. Starting in the top of the eighth inning, the batting team starts with a base-runner on second base, which is the player who made the third out in the previous inning.
In games where one team leads by a large margin, the mercy rule may come into play in order to avoid embarrassing weaker teams.
In fast pitch and modified pitch, a margin of 20 runs after three innings, 15 after four, or 10 after five is sufficient for a win to be declared for the leading team. In slow pitch, the margin is 20 runs after four innings or 15 after five innings.
Popularity and participation Softball is the most popular participant sport in the United States. An estimated 40 million Americans will play at least one game of softball during a year. It is played by both genders socially as well as competitively.
Table of Comparison 7 innings 7 innings 9 innings (7 in the high school level) Length of Game Slow pitch Softball Fast pitch Softball Baseball Rule or Term
no longer than 34 inches no longer than 34 inches no longer than 42 inches Bat often same as fastpitch softball, 12 or 11 inches in circumference 9 inches circumference Ball Equipment
Allowed. Runner reaches safety base in foul territory, fielders make play at regular 1st base Yes, all levels under ISF and ASA No Double first base Typically 60 feet or 65 feet 60 feet (18 m) 90 feet (27 m) Baselines Field
Constant distance from home plate Constant distance from home plate) Variable distance from home plate is mandatory in professional and university leagues and optional in youth leagues. Outfield fence
No No, but 8 foot circle marked around pitcher's plate Yes Pitcher's mound 46 feet (14 m) Varies by level: 40 feet women's high school and amateur or 46 feet (14 m) (men) 60 feet, 6 inches Pitching distance
Extra player may bat in addition to all defensive players Designated player may bat in place of a defensive player Designated hitter may bat in place of a defensive player Extra player ten nine nine Defensive players Players
a batter is allowed one foul ball with two strikes Batter is not out unless bunting. Batter is not out unless bunting. Foul ball with two strikes Not allowed; batter is out if contact made. Allowed Allowed Bunting Batter
Generally not allowed. Allowed once the ball leaves the pitcher's hand Allowed at any time the ball is live Base stealing Runner Not awarded first base. Awarded first base Awarded first base Hit by pitch
If the batter does not swing, the pitch is automatically a ball. The ball remains live. If the batter reaches base and all runners advance, no penalty; No change made to the count on the batter and all runners on base advance. Illegal pitch Underhand Underhand Usually overhand Delivery Pitching