There are many important reasons why softball infields aren’t made out of the grass, and it seems that you are wondering why. This is natural, especially when softball’s relative sports baseball has grass infields. Well, you will learn exactly why that is in addition to other fascinating things considering it, so buckle up, and let’s learn about softball infields!
Softball fields don’t have grass infields for 3 reasons. First, to keep a good speed, the infield isn’t grass as it would slow down the ball. Second, the base distances are short, so the dirt infield provides more grip for the players to move faster. Third, grass infields have higher maintenance costs.
It’s really important that softball fields have dirt infields instead of grass as baseball does because of these reasons. I know that you are as eager to hear more about this as I once was, so without a further due, scroll down and learn more!
- Why Don’t Softball Fields Have Grass Infields?
- What Kind of Dirt Is Used on a Softball Infield?
- Do All Softball Fields Have Dirt Infields?
- Why are Softball Fields Different from Baseball Fields?
- My Favorite Softball Equipment
Why Don’t Softball Fields Have Grass Infields?
Softball fields don’t have grass infields for three main reasons; Softball Speed, Base Distance, and Maintenance Costs. I’ll walk you through the speed first.
1. Softball speed
As you might know, softball infields have dirt infields, and baseball fields have grass. There is a good reason for that.
In baseball, the fastest swing is 120mph (193kph), whereas it is only around 80mph (128kph) in softball. This means that when the ball hits the infields or wherever the material it hits has a drastic effect on how it will react.
In baseball, the ball is so much faster than it needs to be slowed down, which is why grass infields are used. In softball, the ball’s velocity is slower, meaning that to keep a good speed and tempo to the game, it can’t be further slowed down with a grass infield. Thus, softball fields have dirt infields.
2. Base distance
When it comes to the size of a softball field, diamond size, and the base distances, all of them are considerably smaller or shorter in distance than a baseball field.
There is less time to react to the swings, bounces, and throws even when the softball travels slower. All of this affects why it has been chosen that softball infields are dirt.
Why is dirt required if these things are true? Well, dirt provides more grip, meaning that you can move faster with explosive speed instead of a more slippery grass infield.
How much does the base distances vary between softball and baseball? Well, softball base distances are 1/3 shorter than in baseball, meaning that softball bases are 60ft apart, whereas, in baseball, they are 90ft apart. This is such a big difference that softball infields have decided to be made out of the dirt.
3. Maintenance costs
It goes without saying that a grass infield has far higher maintenance costs than a dirt infield. For example, grass needs to be watered often, it suffers more damage, especially when the base distances are shorter, and it needs to be fixed from damage.
The dirt infield also has maintenance needs such as soil testing, applying water, and raking and dragging. Yet, this isn’t nearly as time-consuming or costly as maintaining a grass infield.
This is yet another reason why grass infields aren’t used in softball.
What Kind of Dirt Is Used on a Softball Infield?
When you first think about dirt, your thoughts will often take your mind to think about the side of a road, a farm, or something that will make your clothes very dirty.
This isn’t the kind of dirt used in a softball field. In fact, the specific kind of dirt is created by mixing various things. So, what kind of dirt is used on a softball infield?
The dirt used on a softball infield isn’t regular dirt. This dirt is a mixture of three components that are sand, clay, and silt. Generally, 60% of the mixture is sand, 30% is clay, and 10% is silt.
Do All Softball Fields Have Dirt Infields?
All of this is bound to make you wonder whether every single softball field has dirt infields, and can you even play softball on a grass infield?
The majority of softball fields have dirt infields; however, there are some exceptions, such as artificial turf infields. For example, the Trojans of Triton College have an all artificial turf softball field. This creates a consistent ball bounce and eliminates line chalking and nearly all maintenance needs.
The thing is that the artificial turf used in softball needs to be more like dirt instead of grass from their characteristics. As grass slows down, the ball and the other things talked about earlier, especially on infields.
Anyways, artificial turf is becoming more and more popular, so you may expect more softball fields to choose artificial turf.
To learn more about softball fields and artificial turf, check out Fieldturf, as they have a lot of great information about it.
Why are Softball Fields Different from Baseball Fields?
Softball fields vary from baseball fields, mainly in size and infield material.
As discussed, softball fields don’t have grass infields because of the softball velocity, base distances, and maintenance costs.
Softball is a slower-paced sport in ball speed, meaning that the infield can’t slow the pace down. Also, the base distances are shorter in softball, meaning that the players need to react faster to the balls. The dirt infield was chosen as it provides more grip and better possibilities for explosive movement.
Lastly, there is much more money involved in baseball, making it possible for the fields to be better. This includes higher maintenance budgets for baseball; therefore, softball budgets aren’t as big.
The reason softball fields are smaller than baseball fields is connected to the power of the striker and the weight & dimensions of the ball.
Naturally, men have more strength than women (on average). Baseball is mostly played by men, and softball is mostly played by women. The players can strike the ball further in baseball, partly explaining the size differences between softball and baseball fields.
Also, baseballs are smaller, and the bats weigh slightly more, making it easier to strike the ball further.
My Favorite Softball Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Here are my top softball equipment recommendations that I think will take your game to the next level.
- Bat: My favorite certified fastpitch softball bat is the Easton Ghost. This bat has a double-barrel construction which is incredible if you are looking for a great feel and are a fan of satisfying pop and sound. The handle is a great bonus as it’s great to hold on to and very thin. The technology used for this bat provides great durability and flexibility. This bat comes in various styles and sizes.
- Softball: The best softballs, in my opinion, are the Franklin Sports Official Softballs. These affordable yet official featured balls are perfect for practice if you want to train with a similar ball as in a real game. These balls have the official 12-inch circumference and weight. The yellow color makes it easy to spot, and the flat seams enable minimal air resistance so that they will fly consistently and far.
- Glove: Rawlings Liberty Advanced Fastpitch Glove should be introduced to every softball player. The 12.5″ size makes it a breeze to catch and secure softballs. The glove is very comfortable as it’s made from full-grain leather, and the pull-staps will perfect the fit. The design is breathtaking as well. Be prepared for a little break-in time tho.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.