Softball and baseball seem similar games in many ways, but several unique rules and characteristics differentiate them. The exciting bat-and-ball sports have many things in common, but the time duration, type of ball used in the game, field, and most importantly, the pitching style & delivery differs considerably. If you have watched tournaments on TV, you may have heard the commentators comparing baseball and softball pitch speeds, and you may wonder how they make these comparisons. In this article, we have developed a detailed observation of the pitching style so that you may get a better idea about How fast is a softball pitch compared to a baseball.
Difference Between a Baseball and a Softball
Before moving towards the primary concern, i.e., the pitching style and speed, I consider it significant to make you understand the main difference between the baseball game and Softball. Because eventually, this is what makes the difference in the pitching speed.
Circumference & Weight of the Ball
Softball is slightly bigger than baseball, and its circumference ranges between 11 to 12 inches. At the same time, the typical baseball has a 9 to 9.25 inches circumference. Moreover, baseball has a lighter weight as compared to Softball. The balls also differ in color. Softball comes in yellow, and yellow is a vibrant color, making it easier for the players to see the ball at the plate, while baseball is white.
The most notable difference between the two games is the throwing motion. In baseball, I throw overhand while the softball pitchers throw it underhand. It is because Softball is played indoors, and the field is typically smaller than that of the baseball field. The distance between the pitcher & hitter is just 43 feet, so the ball is thrown underhand for a similar reaction.
Length of game
The baseball tournament is nine innings long, and each inning is split into two halves. At the same time, the softball game is seven innings long. So, the softball game is shorter in length as compared to the baseball game.
The baseball fields are larger than the softball fields because the baseball being lightweight & smaller in size, can travel longer distances while the Softball cannot travel so far. Softball emerged as an indoor winter game, so people used to play it in smaller fields.
Another main difference between the two sports is the strategy & the pitching speed. Let’s move forward to learn about the pitching speeds and how we can compare them with each other.
Softball Vs. Baseball Pitching speeds
Pitching is one of the most critical aspects of both sports and the essential part that makes the difference. Baseball is delivered overhand, while Softball is delivered underhand, so the pitching speed of the two is different. Typically, Baseball pitches are faster than that softball pitches. The speed varies because it largely depends upon the age, skill level, and gender of the pitcher.
The average softball pitch speed ranges from around 45 to 65 miles per hour, with the fastest pitches reaching up to approximately 75 miles per hour. While the average baseball pitch speed is higher, ranging from around 80 to 95 miles per hour, with the fastest speed reaching over 100 miles per hour.
How fast is a softball pitch compared to a baseball?
This is a tricky calculation, but you need to observe how announcers and commentators compare the pitching speeds of Baseball & softball games. To do so, one must consider a batter’s time to reach the pitch.
The standard pitching distance of 43 feet is used in international and college softball games. Suppose a batter takes 0.42 seconds to react to the pitch delivered at 60 mph speed. This calculation is based on the Distance = Rate times Time equation, assuming the average softball pitcher releases the ball approximately 6 feet from the rubber, resulting in a pitching distance of 37 feet. To determine the equivalent pitch speed for baseball, we need to calculate the velocity required to cover the standard pitching distance of 60 feet and 6 inches in the same 0.42 seconds.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the equivalent of a 70 mph softball pitch in baseball?
Despite several commonalities, Softball, and baseball are different sports because they are different in various aspects like the ball size, pitching style & distance, pitch delivery, and technique, etc. However, if we make a typical rough estimate, a 70 mph softball pitch in Softball is equivalent to a 90 to 93 mph baseball pitch. This speed is estimated regarding the reaction time required for a hitter to contact the ball. However, the estimate can vary depending on the age, skill level, and the type o pitch.
How fast is 65 mph in Softball compared to baseball?
Making an exact comparison between both the games & their pitching speed is tricky since they are different sports concerning various factors. However, if we make a rough estimate based on the hypothesis that a softball pitcher throws the ball from a distance of 43 feet and the baseball pitcher throws from a distance of approx. Sixty feet from a 65 mph softball pitch is equivalent to an 85 mph baseball pitch, but again, various factors can prove this assumption wrong.
What is 74 mph in Softball compared to baseball?
If we use the same method, a74 mph softball pitch can be equivalent to a 95-96 mph baseball pitch in terms of the reaction time required for a hitter to make contact with the ball.
Is a softball pitch faster than a baseball?
No, a softball pitch is no faster than a baseball, but the baseball pitch is typically faster.