Pan Am Softball © Mike Ridewood

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Sport Overview

In softball, pitchers launch the ball toward the plate underhand and that’s when the laws of aerodynamics take over, making the pitch rise, drop or curve. The dimensions of the game make the action fast and demand lightning-quick reactions from the players both at the plate and in the field.

Softball has been on the Pan Am Games program since 1979. For 24 years, the Canadian men’s team dominated softball, winning every Pan Am gold medal ever awarded until the men’s competition was dropped from the Games in 2003.

On the women’s side, Canada took silver in softball at the Guadalajara 2011 Pan Am Games, adding to their previous total medal count of one gold, four silver and a bronze from all past Games.


The first softball game came to be as a result of a Harvard versus Yale football game in 1887. When Yale was announced as the winner, a Yale alumnus watching the game playfully threw a boxing glove at a Harvard supporter who swung at the balled-up glove with a stick.

How it works

The game of softball is similar to baseball except the diamond is shorter by 9.1 metres (30 feet), the field itself is smaller, there are only seven innings and the pitcher throws the ball underhand to the batter.

The ball used in softball is larger than that used in baseball but can rise, drop, curve and change speed during the pitch, similar to baseball.


Bases loaded
When there is a runner on 1st, 2nd and 3rd base.

The field of play.

Double play
When two players are tagged out within the same continuous play.

When a pitcher throws three strikes to one batter, resulting in the batter’s return to the bench.

When a pitcher throws four balls to one batter, resulting in the batter walking to first base.

Additional Information

Additional Information