Overview of the Sport Softball

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George Hancock's first intention was to come up with a way for baseball players

to stay in practice during the winter. Instead, on September 16, 1887 in Chicago, he

invented a whole new sport, the first version of softball. It was referred to then as just

"Indoor Baseball." The first game of baseball consisted of a boxing glove tied into a ball

and a broom handle which was used as the bat. After the game was successful with a

score of 44-40, Hancock developed a ball and a bat that could be used to play the game.

The new sport was moved outside the next year. Another version of softball came about

when Lewis Rober, Sr. organized an outdoor game to be used as exercise for firefighters.

It was called kitten ball, pumpkin ball, or diamond ball. His game used a ball with a

circumference of 12 inches whereas Hancock's game used a ball with a circumference of

16 inches. When sports that were fairly the same were being played all over with different

rules and names, the Joint Rules Committee on Softball was formed and standardized the

rules and the name, "Softball."

The rules of softball can be easily altered yet there are some basic rules no matter

how it is played. It is a strike if a legally pitched ball is swung at and missed by a batter or

when a foul ball is not caught when the batter has less than two strikes. A ball is called

when a legally pitched ball does not enter the strike zone or hits the ground before

reaching the home plate, but only if the batter had not attempted to swing. A ball is also

called when the pitch is illegal. The batter must always run when a fair ball is hit. If a fair

ball or foul ball is caught by an opponent before it hits the ground, the batter is out. When

four b...

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..., fair ball, is a batted

ball is hit into fair territory. Fair territory is the part of the playing field within and

including first base and third base foul lines from home base to the bottom of the playing

field. A foul ball is a ball that is hit into foul territory. A dead ball is a ball that is not in

play. Any ball that is hit into the air is called a fly ball. The strike zone is the space over

the home-plate, which is between the batter's armpits and the top of the knees when the

batter is in batting position. An overthrow is a play in which a ball is thrown from one

fielder to another to try to retire a base-runner who hasn't gotten to or is off a base. The

team in the field is called the defensive team. The team at bat is called the offensive team.

The batting order is the official listing of offensive players in the order to go up to bat.
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