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Women's fast pitch softball became a Summer Olympic sport in 1996, but it and baseball were dropped from the 2012 Games; they will be reinstated for the 2020 Games. In the most common type, slow-pitch softball, the ball, which can measure either 11 or 12 inches in circumference depending on gender and league, must arch on its path to the batter, and there are 10 players on the field at once.

In fastpitch softball, the pitch is fast, there are nine players on the field at one time, and bunting and stealing bases are permitted.

Softballs are pitched underhand, but baseballs are pitched overhand.

This changes the arc of the ball when approaching the plate.

circumference) on a field that has base lengths of 60 feet, a pitcher's mound that ranges from 35–43 feet away from home plate, and a homerun fence that is 220 feet away from home plate.

It was invented in 1887 in Chicago, Illinois, United States as an indoor game.

The name softball was given to the game in 1926, because the ball used to be soft, however in modern day usage, the balls are hard.

A tournament held in 1933 at the Chicago World's Fair spurred interest in the game.

It is about 12 in (about 30 cm) in circumference (11 or 12 in for slow-pitch), which is 3 in (8 cm) larger than a baseball.In fast pitch softball the entire infield is dirt, whereas the infield in baseball is grass except at the bases and on the pitcher's mound which are dirt.Softball mounds are also flat, while baseball mounds are a small hill.Modified softball restricts the "windmill" wind-up usually used by fastpitch pitchers, although the pitcher is allowed to throw as hard as possible with the restricted back swing.Softball rules vary somewhat from those of baseball.

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