The popular game of softball is a direct descendant of baseball. It inherits a lot from its parent sport, but at the same time also possesses certain unique characteristics of its own. One of these is the dimensions of a softball field. Read on to know about this important aspect of softball.
The game of softball can be considered to be the younger cousin of the national game of USA, that is, baseball.
There are only a few differences between softball and baseball. One difference is that, the ball used in a softball game is larger in size as compared to baseball, and pitching is done underhand, rather than overhand. Another important difference is that softball has a smaller diamond (field) than baseball.
The International Softball Federation governs the rules of the game, not to mention the field dimensions as well. In the following lines, we will look at the different sizes and measurements that are commonly used while constructing a softball field.
Fast Pitch Field Dimensions
The fence distance usually starts at 150 feet as far as youngsters are concerned, and is extended to over 225 feet for adults. The distances also vary according to whether it is a men's league or a women's league.
In addition to that, these measurements depend on the size of the lot on which the field is set. Softball leagues on their own adopt varying outfield sizes determined by levels of play, and some other factors such as the space remaining between baselines, and between the fence of the outfield and the infield.
The typical distance between the bases is 60 feet.
The Pitcher's Mound
Again here, the age group of the players and the type of field comes into picture. The distance from the pitcher's mound to the plate ranges between 35 and 40 feet. Note that this measurement is typically used by adult players, and might be less in case of younger players.
Rim of the Infield
The grass line normally is a semicircle, having a radius of 60 feet measured from the center of the pitcher's mound (rubber).
According to official specifications, this area is designated with a 9-foot radius around the home plate, till it crosses with the 3-foot mark, indicating the baselines.
This fence is typically erected at a distance of 25 to 30 feet behind the home plate. It is meant for the protection of players and fans. It extends past the 1st and 3rd base, ending behind the catcher's box and home plate. The infield comprises the diamond and the space around it, where the infielders play.
The coach's box is generally placed along the 1st and 3rd baselines, in line with the corresponding bases. Typically each box measures 15 feet (length) by 3 feet (width).
Slow Pitch Field Dimensions
While the rest of the measurements remain the same as those of the fast pitch field, the following are the major differences.
Slow pitch baselines measure around 60 to 65 feet, depending on the level of play. The rules mandate that the pitching distance in slow pitch softball should be 50 feet for both, male and female players. Pitching distances may sometimes be a bit less (46 feet) for girls under 15 years of age.
In addition to this, there is usually a backstop behind the home plate, which is typically at a distance of 25 to 30 feet behind it, varying as per the division or the league that is being played.
Note that the measurements given here are generic, and therefore not constant. They may differ from game to game, according to the level of play, the different age groups of the players, and even according to some other specific factors.