What is slowpitch softball?

Slow pitch softball is a fun sport for everyone to enjoy. The ball is somewhat bigger than a baseball and the rules can vary in different leagues (ASA, USSA or NSA). Some general nuances in softball, unlike baseball are: the bases are much closer, games are 7 innings instead of 9, 10 or 15 run rule is in effect, 10 players are on defense and you can have as many as 12 players in the offensive line-up. Most city recreation departments have softball leagues for men and women at different levels of competition (novice, D, C, B and A). B and A level are reserved for the most competitive players, normally composed of ex-college baseball players or individuals over 6í3 whereas novice and D are for the more inexperienced player. Beware, classification can vary from city to city (i.e. a C team in one city may be a A team in another city). As for tournaments, they are in abundance everywhere. Just call your city recreation department.

Softball Equipment

All you really need is softball glove (at least 13.5 inches), bat (there are many choices) and a ball (red dot - Worth...itís one of the best). The BAT however is one of the most important items you can own, since softball is strictly and offensive affair. Most softball bats are 34 inches and vary in weight up to 38 oz. The most popular weight for men though is about 28-29 oz. Bats can be balanced (even weighted) or end loaded (heavy at the end). Go to your local sporting goods store and swing one around (watch out for children). Most bats are made of C405 aluminum alloy or some other material that claim can give you more distance and velocity. I must admit these bats do work however their prices are quite steep for the result. A top of the line, double wall Demarini for example, could cost you up to $280! Personally I used this bat and I do not see a really HUGE difference compared with the TPS, Easton and Worth bats which run at half the price. If you want to hit homers over the 300 foot fence hit the weight room or work on your technique, it can do wonders for you. Prior to the weight room I could barely hit the fence. Now, Iíve hit as many as three dingers in a game! So there is hope for all you aspiring sluggers.

Softball in the Bay Area

  1. Hayward: their four fields (300 ft. fences) are very well kept and there are many levels of classification. The league is expensive to join and has preference for Hayward residents. (grade = B+)
  2. Oakland: most of the fields (no fences) are in terrible shape and are located in rough areas (except Owen Jones Field in the hills, 250 - 260 ft. fence). The last time I checked Oakland used Dudley balls which go nowhere when hit. (grade = D)
  3. San Francisco: the fields are surprisingly nice, but it sure is cold out there at night. On the weekends they sponsor a ALL Asian League called the Nikkei Softball League (grade = B)
  4. San Leandro: they have three fields (260 to 280 ft. fences on two of them), Thrasher Park being the best of the three (grade = B+)
  5. Albany: has one field that is in ok condition, but the competition is very good. (grade = B)
  6. Berkeley: has three fields in average condition, one of which is fenced (250 - 290 ft.). The A/B leagues are very competitive but everything below is not. (grade = B)
  7. Fremont and Twin Creeks (Sunnyvale): two big sports complexes that have nice fields and 300 ft. fences. (grade = A)

If you have additional information about Bay Area Leagues please send me your thoughts

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