Softball Rules

Photo credit: Seth Werkheiser (Source)

Softball is a variation of the sport baseball. It’s more commonly played at a recreational level and played on a pitch smaller than that of baseball. Whilst the rules are very similar there are some that differ. The sport is widely played throughout North America but there are also professional leagues played in Asia, Europe and South America.

Object of the Game

The object of softball is to hit the ball with a bat before the player tries to run around an infield with four bases. Once a player manages to get right round without being given out a run is scored. The team with the most runs at the end of the game is deemed the winner.

Players & Equipment

Each softball team has 9 players. The game takes place over 7 innings and within each innings the team will bat then field. An innings is split into two sections called the top and the bottom of the innings. The away team bats first at the top of the innings whilst the home team field, then teams switch so the home team bats at the bottom of the innings.

Pitch sizes vary in softball and are often just whatever size can be found or used at the time. The in- filed has four bases in a diamond shape. The bases are home base (where the batter stands), first base, second base and third base. Home plate can be found in the centre of the field where the pitcher must stand to throw the ball. The pitcher must throw the ball underarm and must have at least one foot on the plate at the point of delivery.

Once a batting order is set at the start of the game it cannot be changed throughout. A batsman can be given out by being caught by a fielder without the ball bouncing, missing the ball three times in which a strike is called or by being tagged by a fielder holding the ball whilst running between bases. A batsman can be walked to first base if the pitcher fails to get the ball within the strike zone 4 times without a stroke being made. The strike zone in softball is larger than that of baseball.

Teams can be mixed with men and women or with just a single sex on each team. Once a team have completed their innings then the teams switch to do the opposite role. An innings is complete when the fielding team manage to get three players out from the bating team.


To score a run the batsman must successfully first hit the ball and make it around the bases without being given out. One run is scored for every batsmen they manage to get round. A run can be scored even if the batsmen who hit the ball doesn’t make it round to home plate but manages to get a player that’s already on one of the bases home.

Winning the Game

The winners of the game will be decided after the 7 innings have all been completed. The team with most runs after 7 innings will be declared the winner. If after 7 innings the game is tied, then an extra innings will be played until a winner is found.

Rules of Softball

  • Each team consists of 9 players and teams can be of mixed gender
  • A game lasts for 7 innings and is split into two sections; the top and bottom of the innings.
  • Each team bats once in each innings before the sides switch.
  • The fielding team has a pitcher, catcher, a player on first base, second base, third base, three deep fielders and short stop.
  • A batter must successfully strike the ball and run around as many bases as possible. Once they get all the way around and back to home plate without being given out a run is scored.
  • The fielding team can prevent the batsmen by making them miss the ball, catching the ball, tagging one of the bases before they reach it or tagging the batsmen whilst they are running with the ball in hand.
  • Down the first and third base line is a foul area. Once the ball crosses this line before it bounces the ball is deemed ‘dead’ and play restarts with a new pitch.
  • A home run can be scored by hitting the ball over the outfield and into a dead ball area. The batsmen can then stroll around the bases to score along with any additional batsmen on base.