What is Softball?

Definition of Softball

Softball is a game of ball between two nine- or ten-player teams played usually for seven innings on a field that has as a focal point a diamond-shaped dirt infield with a home plate and three other bases, 60 feet (18.29 meters) apart, forming a circuit that must be completed by a base runner in order to score, the central offensive action entailing hitting of a pitched ball with a wooden or metal bat and running of the bases, the winner being the team scoring the most runs.

Home plate with a bat, balls and helmet.
Home plate with a bat, balls and helmet.

How do I play Softball?

The rules of softball can be overwhelming at first, but that is what your coach and captain are there for.

The softball game consists of two teams alternating between batting and fielding. Each team consists of either nine or ten players. The fielding team wear large leather gloves to assist in catching the ball. The batting team take turns hitting the ball with a bat. Bases are laid out in a diamond pattern on the field: these are known as first, second and third base, and home plate.

The Pitcher is positioned at the centre of the diamond and pitches the softball towards the Batter who is standing next to the home plate. The object of the game for the batting team is to hit the ball ‘fairly’ and advance from base to base to score runs. The object of the game for the fielding team is to catch, tag or run out the Batter in order for their players to get a turn to bat.

An inning is where each team gets a change to both bat and field. At the end of seven innings (or longer if there is a tie), the team scoring the highest number of runs wins the game.

Dodder win the Softball Ireland National Club Championship in 2019.
Dodder win the Softball Ireland National Club Championship in 2019.

Why play Softball?

Softball is almost unique in the fact that it can be played as a mixed game, allowing friends and family to come together on the same team. Any person can take part irrespective of their athletic ability, providing an easy way for people of all ages to undertake physical activity and improve their overall health and wellbeing. Softball is without a doubt a sociable and inclusive sport, bringing people of all backgrounds together to have fun and keep fit.

Sliders Team at IOST
Inclusivity is an important part of the Softball Ireland ethos.

Are there different types of Softball?

Softball in Ireland comes in three varieties: ‘Slow Pitch’, ‘Fast Pitch’ and ‘Indoor’.

Slow Pitch Softball is the basic form of the game, perfect for beginners and people who want to enjoy the social aspect of the sport. Slow Pitch is almost always played as a co-ed (mixed) game in Ireland.

Fast Pitch Softball is closer in form to baseball, a great opportunity for competitive individuals or anyone to advance their skill in the game. Fast Pitch is typically played by females in the Americas, although the Fast Pitch League in Ireland is considered a co-ed (mixed) game.

Indoor Softball is a modern variant of Slow Pitch Softball, with different rules to allow for indoor play. Games are timed, and players score points instead of runs. Indoor is almost always played as a co-ed (mixed) game in Ireland.

Irish team wins silverware

Where is Softball played?

Slow Pitch and Fast Pitch Softball are played outdoors, either on a purpose-built diamond or on mixed-use pitches.

Indoor Softball is, as the name suggests, is played indoors, usually in a sports hall.

More information on where softball teams are located is included in the ‘Find a Softball Club’ section of the website.

The Originals win the Dublin Indoor Softball Tournament in 2018.

When is Softball Played?

Slow Pitch Softball usually takes place in the summer months, as poor light and cold conditions during the winter months can make it difficult to play. As a general rule of thumb, most leagues run from April through to September.

Fast Pitch Softball usually takes place in the summer months also, however the Fastpitch League has been taking place during the winter months in a covered facility in Dublin.

Indoor Softball is typically played during the Slow Pitch off-season, with one day tournaments organised between October and February. These tournaments allow players to keep up their skills during the winter months, as well as affording an opportunity for teams to keep in contact with one another when the Slow Pitch Leagues are not taking place.

Ulster Teams coming together at a summer tournament.
Ulster team players coming together at a summer tournament.

How do I make contact with teams?

If you wish to join a team, please complete the contact form below.

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