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Baseball and Softball Equipment

Buying the proper softball equipment or baseball equipment for yourself or for a youth player will help ensure both player safety and success. The two sports share some characteristics but are distinctly different in other ways. Youth players may need new equipment every season as they grow bigger and taller and outgrow their old equipment.

What are the differences between baseball and softball equipment?

While both games share many commonalities in terms of how each game is played and the equipment that is used, there are three major pieces of equipment that differ. These are:

  • Balls: Baseball uses a leather, double seamed ball, that is 9-9.25 inches in circumference. For youth softball, the ball measures 11 inches circumference. For fastpitch softball, the ball measures 12 inches circumference. Both types are covered with synthetic leather with two stitched seams.
  • Bats: Bats for the two sports differ in weight and length and barrel diameter. Both weight and length typically increase from youth bats through adult bats. The barrel diameter of an adult baseball bat is typically larger than that of adult softball bats.
  • Gloves: Because a softball is bigger in diameter than a baseball, softball gloves typically feature a pocket that is wider and deeper than a baseball glove.
What gear does a beginning softball player need?

Equipping a beginner player will need for success will require the purchase of several different pieces of gear that include:

  • Position glove, like an infielder, outfielder, catcher, or pitcher glove.
  • Softball bat that matches the age and height of the player.
  • Batting helmet for safety at bat and while base running.
  • Softball cleats or spikes, depending on the league rules for footwear.
  • Apparel, including pants for protection when sliding.
What is an infielder's mask?

An infielder's face mask is a lightweight, protective mask that allows the infielder to fully see the game action while protecting the player's face from injury due to a line drive or collision. Many youth leagues require infielder's face masks for their players as a part of the league rules.

How do you measure for a bat?

Before measuring for a baseball bat, check the league rules for which materials and sizes of bats are permitted in your league as well as which bats are prohibited. Regulations often change season by season, so this is a key piece of information to check for each year. When measuring a for a bat, consider these factors:

  • Player age: Different ages play in different league levels which have strict guidelines for bats.
  • Player height and weight: This is a good starting point for narrowing down which sizes will work for your player.
  • Bat length and weight: It should be the proper length for the player to cover the strike zone, corner to corner on home plate, when swinging. It should also be the proper weight for swing mechanics.
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