Is A Softball Pitch Faster Than Baseball?

Softball and baseball are both popular games, but they aren’t quite the same. For one, softball pitches are generally slower. You might see a 60 MPH pitch in softball, while baseball speeds can hit around 93.9 MPH.

Another noticeable difference is the pitching style. Baseball pitchers use an overhand throw.

Softball Pitch
The distance between the mound and the home plate is 17 feet greater in baseball compared to softball.( Source : Instagram )

On the other hand, softball players throw underhand. This unique approach in softball impacts both the pitch speed and technique.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that there are two types of softball: fastpitch and slowpitch. Fastpitch is, as the name suggests, faster.

A major difference between them is the pitcher’s motion. In fastpitch, pitchers have a windmill-like motion, which isn’t seen in slowpitch. This motion contributes to the varying speeds between the two softball types.

Comparing the Speed of a Softball Pitch to Baseball

Comparing the pitch speed between softball and baseball involves considering elements like how the ball is thrown and the distance it travels.

Pitch speed is crucial in both games, dictating how quickly a player needs to react. In baseball, pitches typically fly at an average of 93.9 mph, while in softball, it’s around 60 mph.

This difference means baseball batters have a shorter window to decide their moves compared to their softball counterparts.

There are several factors that contribute to the speed difference between softball and baseball:

  1. Ball Size and Its Impact

The type of ball plays a big role in how fast it’s thrown in games. Softballs are bigger and weigh more than baseballs. To be specific, a softball’s size is around 11.88 to 12.13 inches with a weight of 6.25 to 7 ounces.

Softball Pitch
Softball uses a bigger ball than baseball.( Source : Instagram )

On the other hand, baseballs are about 9 to 9.25 inches and weigh from 5 to 5.25 ounces.

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Because softballs are heavier, players need to put in more effort to achieve high speeds compared to baseball.

2. Comparing Pitching Distances: Baseball vs. Softball

The difference in pitching distance plays a key role in the speed variations between baseball and softball.

In baseball, the pitcher throws from a distance of 60 feet and 6 inches (18.44 meters) from home plate. This longer distance lets them gather more momentum and pitch faster.

In softball, depending on the players, the pitching distance ranges from 40 feet (for young players) to 43 feet (for adult women) and up to 46 feet (for adult men).

Because of this shorter range, softball batters have a tighter window to respond to the pitch.

  1. Understanding the Pitch

In softball, players pitch underhand. This method gives them better control over the ball, though it’s tough to throw very fast.

Softball Pitch
In fastpitch softball , players are only allowed to make underhand throws using a windmill motion.( Source : Instagram )

On the other hand, baseball players use overhand throws, which can be much faster.

Fastpitch and slow pitch softball vary in speed. In fastpitch, pitchers use a windmill action, allowing for quicker throws.

But in slow pitch, this isn’t permitted. The ball has to move in a gentle curve, following specific height rules.

Comparing Softball Pitch Speed Chart to Baseball

In softball and baseball, the speed of a thrown ball isn’t the same due to the different distances from the pitcher to the batter.

 In softball, the distance is shorter at 43 feet, so a ball thrown at 50 mph gets to the batter in roughly 0.58 seconds.

 In contrast, the same speed in baseball takes about 0.82 seconds because the distance is longer. This difference is essential to understand the game’s dynamics.

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Below is a chart that compares the speed of a softball pitch to its equivalent speed in baseball:

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

How fast is a 70 mph softball pitch in baseball?

When you see a 70 mph pitch in softball, it’s much like seeing a pitch between 95 to 98 mph in baseball.

Softball’s pitching distance is shorter, so the batter gets less time to decide and hit. Think of it this way: A softball thrown at 70 mph reaches the batter in just 0.42 seconds, while a 95 mph baseball takes 0.44 seconds to reach home plate.

Softball Pitch
A 70 mph softball pitch and a 98 mph baseball pitch give batters the same reaction time.( Source : Instagram )

This makes a softball at 70 mph seem faster than its baseball counterpart. But remember, it’s not just about speed.

The size of the bat and ball also play a role in how a batter hits. So, it’s not necessarily easier to bat in one sport over the other.

How fast is a 74 mph softball pitch in baseball?

The speed at which the ball travels and the distance it has to cover determines how fast you need to react.

 For example, if a softball is thrown at 74 mph, you’ve got roughly 0.396 seconds to react. Now, let’s put this into a baseball context. That same 0.396 seconds of reaction time is what you’d have if a baseball is hurled at you at nearly 106 mph!

There’s a formula we use to figure out reaction time:

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Duration (seconds) = Total Distance (feet) / Speed (feet per second)

 It’s basically dividing the total distance the ball travels by its speed. Once we know the reaction time for softball, we use another formula to find out the baseball speed with the same reaction time.

In simpler terms, facing a 74 mph softball pitch is like gearing up for a 106 mph baseball pitch in terms of how quickly you need to react.

To find out how fast a pitch feels in terms of time taken, you can use a straightforward formula:

Speed (feet per second) = Total Distance (feet) / Time taken (seconds)

Next, to convert this to miles per hour:

Speed (mph) = Speed (feet per second) * 0.682

With this method, a 74 mph softball pitch feels like a 105.77 mph baseball pitch when you’re up to bat, purely in terms of the time you have to react.

What Is A 75 MPH Softball Pitch Equivalent To In Baseball?

When you watch softball and baseball, you might notice differences in pitching speeds. Here’s an interesting fact: a 75 MPH pitch in softball feels like a whopping 106 MPH pitch in baseball for the batter.

Softball Pitch
Monica Abbott threw the fastest softball ever at 77 mph.( Source : Instagram )

It’s all about reaction time. Batters have just 0.390 seconds to react in both scenarios.

Very few softball players, mainly some top NCAA stars, can throw at 75 MPH.

 It’s a big deal since it’s 15 MPH faster than the usual speed. Similarly, in baseball, only the cream of the crop can achieve a pitch of 106 MPH.

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