How could two similar sports be so different?

Jaelin Engle
Feature Editor

According to sabr.org, statistics show that around 13 million people play baseball or softball around the world. These sports are both require a tremendous amount of cooperation and skill, but there are some key differences between the two.

According to npr.org, way back in 1846, baseball originally began with men playing around outside when they had free time. After a while, this playful activity began to spread and communities all over were wanting to play. A group of athletic directors started to assemble this activity but they had to add rules and regulations so that it would be qualified as a national sport.

According to archives.sbu.edu, softball started around the beginning of the 1900s as just a small indoor activity.

The inventor, George Hancock, originally named it kitten ball. Over many years kitten ball grew and became known as softball.

The actual ball used in softball was created so large due to when Hancock first started playing softball; he used a boxing glove and tied it up with a shoelace to resemble a ball-like form. After a group of athletic directors decided to make softball into a professional sport, they created a ball that would stay similar to the original shape.

Hancock wanted to give women a chance to show others that they could play sports just like men could. At the time, his idea was not supported by many others, but luckily that changed many years later.

Since these sports have their separate regulations, they also have to focus on different strategies.

WCHS sophomore and baseball player Nathan Cavaleri explained how he focuses on different strategies than the girls on the softball team.

“They are completely different sports and have different strategies. For example, softball tends to focus on ground balls and bunts due to how small the field is, while baseball, due to its size, almost has to try to get line drives and hit the ball farther,” Cavaleri said.

According to baseball and softball players, one major difference between these two sports is the balls used.

When a baseball is compared to the softball, it’s much smaller in size.

WCHS athletic director Ken Sears defined the rules and regulations as well as some minor differences between the two sports.

“The major difference is size of the ball, size of field (bases, pitcher’s mound, fences). Softball pitchers in high school can pitch everyday. Baseball pitchers can only throw a certain amount of pitches and then cannot pitch for several days,” Sears said.

Another thing that is different is the fields that each sport uses.

Seventh grade Wellness teacher and softball coach Katie Mitchell went into detail about the difference in sizes of the fields.

“The softball field is much smaller than the baseball field, making the game much faster. The base paths are only 60 feet (compared to 90 feet), pitchers throw from 43 feet (compared to 60.5 feet), and outfield fences are much shorter,” Mitchell said.

Baseball and softball may appear very similar, but after examining the differences, it is clear that the two sports result in very different games.

In the end, the differences truly make each sport special in its own way.

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