Softball Rules: How to Play Softball


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Softball is a variation of the baseball sport and it played predominantly at a recreational level. The game is played on a pitch that is smaller than that of baseball. The rules of both the games are different and it is played in several professional league matches in Asia.

The objective of the game is to hit the ball with the bat before the player runs around the infield that consists of four bases. If the player runs around, without being given a hit, he scores. The team with the maximum runs at the end of the game wins. 

Rules of the Softball Game with Regards to Equipment and Players

Softball Rules

The softball game is played between two teams of 9 players each. Substitutes are allowed when a player endures an injury. Only the captain addresses the officials during the game. The softball field consists of a pitching rubber, four bases which comprise of three bases and a home plate, an infield and also an outfield. 

The softball game is played with the help of a wooden or an aluminum bat, a softball and softball gloves for each fielder. The visiting team bats first while the home team starts to play in the defense area. each fielder lines up in the nine positions. The first batter steps into the batter’s box and prepares to hit the pitch.

Check out: Best Fastpitch Softball Bat for Power Hitters

The Objective of the Game

The Gameplay is between two opposite softball teams. Each team is composed of 9 players. The teams play in a field, that is been divided into two sections namely, the infield and the outfield. There are four based on the infield that includes a home plate. Each of the bases is about 60’ apart. If the ball travels out of the first or the third baseline, it is termed as a foul ball. In those instances, the runners on the base cannot advance further.

The batsman will be given another attempt when they hit the foul ball unless the ball is caught by the defense. If the ball is caught by the defense, then the batter is considered an ‘out’. The softball game consists of 7 full innings, and each team will have their turn at-bat.

Generally, the visiting team bats in the first half of every inning, and the home team bats in the second half of each inning. The innings of the game are not timed but each of the innings will continue until three outs are made by the defense. If the game ends in a tie, then additional innings will be introduced between the two teams at the end of the last inning.

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Positions of the Players in the Game

The different positions adopted by the different players in the softball game are as follows,

  • Pitcher
  • Catcher
  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd baseman in succession
  • Shortstop
  • Left fielder
  • Center fielder
  • Right fielder

Pitcher: The pitcher stands on the pitch mount that is located at the center of the softball field. The pitcher will attempt underarm pitches with the intent of entering the strike zone and aims his strikes at the batters. After every pitch, they reorient immediately and get ready for balls that are hit in their direction. 

Catcher: The catcher receives all pitches thrown by the pitcher and also all the incoming throws from the outfielders and infielders and throws them at the base runner. The catcher is also responsible for catching the fly balls and is responsible for saving the wild and unruly pitches. 

1st base player: This position is located to the left of the first base. This player fields balls to hit in the direction of the first base. The players in this position will hit the balls in the direction of the first base.

2nd base player: This position is present in the space between the second base and the first base player. The players in this position will receive throws from their teammates and strive to throw out runners who head towards the 2nd base. They also field the ground balls.

3rd base player: This position is located towards the left of the 3rd base. These players field balls that are hit in the direction of the 3rd base. These players also have to receive incoming throws from teammates and attempt to out the base runners who head towards the 3rd base.


The shortstop is located between the 2nd and the 3rd base. The players in this position field all the balls that are hit towards the infield between the 2nd and 3rd bases. They also cover the 2nd base and engage in double plays with the 2nd base player. 


This position is specific to softball and it is also known as the Buck Short. This position plays outside the infield, between the 1st and 2nd bases.


This comprises of a center field and the right and left field positions. All the three positions field the line drives, fly balls, and ground balls and strive to get the ball back into the infield as quickly as possible and to get the base runners out.

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Rules of the Softball Game

  • Each team consists of 9 players and a game lasts for 7 innings and is split into two sections. 
  • Each of the team bats once in each of the innings before switching the sides. 
  • The fielding team comprises a pitcher, a catcher, and a player on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd base positions.
  • A batter should strike the ball successfully and run around as many bases as they can.
  • When they get round and back to the home zone, they score a run.
  • The fielding team can prevent batsmen by making them miss the ball, catch the ball and tag one of the bases before they reach it.
  • It is possible to score by hitting the ball over the outfield and into the dead ball area.


Softball is a team sport with a clear objective of winning over the opposite team. The team that scores the highest amount of runs will win the game in the end. 



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