Origin of the Game

The game is believed to have derived from when a fan at a Havard-Yale American football game rolled a glove into a ball and another fan then struck the 'ball' with a broom on Thanksgiving Day 1887. This started a new indoor game and was the beginning of a new sport. George Hancock is the man credited with drawing up the first set of rules for the sport. Initially known as 'kitten ball' because the ball was so soft, when the game reverted to an outdoor game it became known as 'diamond ball' before the sport's current name of softball was adopted in 1922.

Hugely popular among women the first international softball tournament took place in Melbourne, Australia in 1965. Today the International Softball Federation a member of the World Baseball Softball Confederation oversee a sport which has more than 100 member countries worldwide. The biennial World Softball Championships is the pinnacle of the game. Softball was introduced for women as part of the Olympic programme at the 1996 Atlanta Games but was dropped from the schedule after the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

How it works

A variant of the game of baseball, softball is a nine-a-side team game generally played on a dirt or brick-dust infield. The object of the game is to score as many runs (points) than the other team by batting (hitting) a ball and running around four bases.

The game is divided into seven innings per team. The bats are typically made of aluminium. Note, the game principally varies to baseball because the balls are bigger, the infield smaller and the ball is pitched underhand - known as the windmill - as opposed to overarm. Despite the name softball the balls are hard.

Format at World Masters Games 2017

Men and women will compete in three age divisions +35, +45 and 55+ Open across the three grades; A Grade Competitive and B Grade Recreational.

Expected Number of Competitors: 1800


North Harbour Softball Stadium Rosedale Park

Kiwi Legend:

Mark Sorenson – One of the all-time global greats of the game, the Hutt Valley resident enjoyed a stellar 20-year career with the Black Sox winning five world titles (four senior and one junior). Known as one the game's great thinkers, the booming batter, catcher and long-time skipper was inducted into the ISF Hall of Fame in 2009 and also made 12 ISC All World Team selections. In 2013 he was appointed coach of the Black Sox.

Did You Know?

New Zealand is the most successful ever nation at the Men's Softball World Championships, winning the tournament six times including at four of the last five editions.

How to Get Involved?