Softball is purely a team sport where a ball is thrown by a player (underhand) and is responded by a player, called as a batter. The batter is a person who carries a long stick, made of wood or sometimes of metal composite. Softball sport has two teams. One is called the offensive team, the other predictably is known as a defensive team.
A batter scores a point when he hits the ball and manages to touch a series of three markers on the ground called bases. He then touches the final base also known as home plate.
During softball game, the defensive team has to make three outs to become the offensive team and start batting. As in cricket, outs can be made in a lot of ways. For example, a defensive player can get the batter out by catching the ball before it hits the ground, or he can hold the ball while touching a base, when an offensive player is forced to advance. Softball is very similar to baseball, which is often called as hardball to distinguish it from softball, but differs from it in several ways.
The game has usually seven or nine innings. At the end of the set number of innings the team with the highest score wins. The sport is governed by the International Softball Federation and world championships are held every four years in a number of categories.
Some of the most prominent softball teams are as follows:
Softball game is hugely popular in Canada. There are over 300,000 players registered Fast-Pitch, Slow-Pitch and Orthodox leagues in the country. Many thousands are busy learning the game in schools. So huge is the scope, that even a 5-year-old is often seen hanging a bat to play the game. The game also offers a lot of opportunities to players to take it to the Olympic Games. Softball Canada is considered as the exclusive national sport by the International Softball Federation and the Canada government.
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Aussie Steelers, the Australian Open Men's team, is one of the country's most successful teams. The team currently ranks third in the world. In 2004, the Aussie Steelers came third behind New Zealand and Canada at the International Softball Federations Men's World Championship. The team is preparing for the next world championship in 2008.
The USA Softball Men's National Team was the runner's up at the 2007 ISF Men's World Cup of Softball this year. They were beaten by Japan, 2-0. Softball is very popular in the country with more than 200 teams playing it in the college and university level. The sport is also a mega money spinner for the country.
Horace Wilson introduced baseball in Japan in 1872. The first formal team came into existence in 1878 and sine then it has been hugely popular. In the early 20th century, some American baseball stars visited Japan and played games against university students.