Softball was introduced to Ireland in the early 1980’s and Softball Ireland was established in 1989. Softball Ireland is the governing body for all variations the sport of softball in Ireland. Softball Ireland is internationally aligned with the European Softball Federation and the International Softball Federation.
The primary objective is to promote and develop the sport at every level from recreational softball through to Irelands High Performance Programme. Currently headquartered in Dublin Softball Ireland is run by an elected voluntary board who are responsible for the organisation, development and growth of the game in Ireland.
What is Softball?
Softball is a variant of baseball played with a larger ball on a smaller field. Women’s fastpitch softball became a Summer Olympic sport in 1996, but it (and baseball) were dropped in 2005 from the 2012 games. It is hoped that Softball will be reintroduced to the 2020 Olympic Games.
There are two types of softball. In the most common type, slow-pitch softball (which is played by the majority of players in Ireland), the ball, must arch on its path to the batter; there are 10 players in a team; and bunting and stealing are prohibited. In fastpitch softball, the pitch is fast, there are nine players on the field at one time, and bunting and stealing are permitted. Softball Ireland has launched Women’s fastpitch in 2014 as part of its policy of getting more women playing sport.
There are 37 affiliated clubs in Ireland with a combined membership of just under 700 players.
- Softball was invented in 1887 in Chicago as an indoor game. It was at various times called indoor baseball, mush ball, playground, softbund ball, kitten ball, and, because it was also played by women, ladies’ baseball. The name softball was given to the game in 1926.
- The standard distance between bases for slow-pitch softball is 65feet and for fastpitch softball is 60ft. In fastpitch softball the ball is pitched underarm and can reach speeds of up to 60mph
- Ireland has been participated in European Championships since 1998 and is currently ranked fourth in Europe in slow-pitch softball. Ireland has previously won both silver and bronze medals at the European Championships
Key Events in 2014/2015
World Series Softball Tournament, September 13, 2014, London
European Softball Federation Annual Congress, February 2015, Dublin
ESF Slow-pitch Championships, July 2015, Bulgaria
ESF Fastpitch Championships, 2015, TBC