Softball Pitch Speed Compared To Baseball

By Roshan Khatiwada / 5 June 2023 07:55 AM

The distance between the mound and the home plate is 17 feet more in baseball compared to softball
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Softball pitch speed compared to baseball is slower. The average pitching speed of softball is 60 MPH, while baseball has 93.9 MPH.

Baseball and softball are similar, but both sports have some key differences. Pitching speed and how the pitch is delivered are some key differences.

In baseball, pitchers throw the ball overhand, whereas only underhand pitches can be thrown in softball. This difference in style affects the speed and technique of pitching while comparing the two sports.

Further, there are two variations of softball: fastpitch and slowpitch. Fastpitch softball is the faster-paced version of slowpitch.

The main difference between the two is that pitchers can use a windmill motion while throwing the ball in a fastpitch, and there is no required arc to the pitch like in the slowpitch version. There is a speed difference in the pitch delivered in both versions because of this action.

Softball Speed Compared To Baseball

Softball speed to baseball comparison depends on various factors like pitching style and distance from the mound to the plate.

The pitch speed is one of the critical aspects in both sports, as the time to react to the ball and hit it depends on it. The faster the speed, the less time the batter has to respond to the ball.

The average speed of a pitch in baseball is around 93.9 miles per hour, whereas, in softball, the average pitch speed is about 60 miles per hour.

Here are some of the reasons for the difference in speed between the softball and baseball:

1. Size of the ball

One of the reasons for the difference in speed is the weight and the size of the ball used while playing. The ball used in softball is larger and heavier in compassion than those used in baseball.

Only underhand pitches with a windmill action can be thrown in fastpitch softball
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The circumference of a softball is between 11.88 to 12.13 inches, and the weight is between 6.25 to 7 ounces. In contrast, a baseball measures 9 to 9.25 inches in circumference and weighs 5 to 5.25 ounces.

Because of that, more force is required to throw the ball at a higher speed in softball than in baseball.

2. Distance between the mound and home plate

Another main reason for the variation in the speed between the two sports is the distance between the pitcher's mound and home plate. This allows the pitchers more time to build momentum and throw the ball faster in baseball.

The pitching distance in baseball is sixty feet and six inches or 18.44 meters, whereas the distance between the pitcher and the batter is 40 feet for youth, 43 feet for adult women, and 46 feet for adult men.

However, the shorter distance in softball also means that the batters have less time to react to the ball.

3. Pitching style

As discussed earlier, only underhand pitches are allowed in softball. Throwing an underhand pitch gives more control over the ball but makes it harder to generate pace while throwing.

The size of the ball used in softball is larger than that of baseball
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In contrast, baseball pitchers throw overhand pitches, making it easier to generate a higher speed. Further, there is a speed difference between fastpitch and slowpitch softball due to the pitching technique.

Pitches are of higher speed in fastpitch as pitchers are allowed to throw using a windmill action, whereas in slowpitch, such action is not allowed, and the ball must travel in an arc and within certain height restrictions.

Softball To Baseball Speed Chart

The speed with which a ball is thrown in softball is not equivalent to the same speed in baseball. It is because of the difference in distance between the pitcher and the batter.

The distance is shorter in softball, so the pitch has less space to cover. For example, a softball pitch thrown at 50 mph would take about 0.58 seconds to reach the home plate, given the distance between the plate and the mound is 43 feet.

However, a baseball pitch with the same speed would take 0.82 seconds to reach the batter.

Here is a speed chart comparing the speed of a softball pitch to its equivalent speed in baseball:

Pitch speed in softball (MPH)Equivalent speed in baseball (MPH)

70 MPH Softball Pitch Compared To Baseball

70 mph softball to baseball pitch comparison is equivalent to about 95 to 98 mph. This is because the pitcher's mound is much closer to home plate in softball.

Due to the shorter distance, the batter has less reaction time to react and connect with the ball. A 70-mile-per-hour pitch from 43 feet away takes about 0.42 seconds to reach the batter.

A softball pitch of 70 mph and a baseball pitch of 98 mph have the same reaction time
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In contrast, a 95-mile-per-hour pitch from a distance of 60 feet and 6 inches takes about 0.44 seconds to reach the home plate. Therefore, a 70 mph delivery in softball appears to be faster than a 95 mph ball in baseball.

However, that does not mean it is easier to hit balls in baseball than in softball, as the reaction time is more. Factors like the bat and the ball's size impact the ball being hit by the batter.

74 MPH Softball Pitch Compared To Baseball

74 mph softball to baseball pitch equals about 105 mph. The equivalence is determined using a formula calculating the batter's reaction time.

The reaction time is calculated based on the speed of the ball and the distance it has to travel. After calculating the reaction time for a specific speed, another calculation is performed to determine at what speed a baseball pitch has the same reaction time.

The formula to calculate the reaction time is:

Reaction Time (seconds) = Distance (feet) / Speed (feet per second)

Using this formula, we can determine that a softball pitch delivered at 74 mph would take 0.396 seconds to reach the batter on the plate. Now, the next step is to find out at what speed when a baseball is pitched has a reaction time of 0.396 seconds.

The formula to determine the equivalence speed is:

Speed (feet per second) = Distance (feet) / Reaction Time (seconds)

Speed (mph) = Speed (feet per second) * 3600 / 5280

Using this formula, we can calculate that a 74 mph pitch in softball is equivalent to a 105.77 mph pitch in baseball regarding reaction time for the batter.

What Is A 75 MPH Softball Equivalent To In Baseball?

75 MPH Softball Pitch Compared To Baseball is equivalent to 106 miles per hour. This calculation is based on the batter's reaction time being the same for both speeds.

Monica Abbott holds the record for the fastest pitch in softball with 77 mph delivery
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A batter facing a 75 miles per hour delivery in softball and a batter facing a 106 miles per hour pitch in baseball has a reaction time of 0.390 seconds. The formula used in the previous section was used to calculate the reaction time and equivalent speed.

In softball, 75 miles per hour pitches are rare and delivered by some elite NCAA softball athletes only, as it is fifteen miles more than the average speed in the sport. The same goes for baseball; only a few elite pitchers can throw a ball with that much speed.

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