Article by: Andrea M.
April 9, 2016 marked the end of an IASAS softball era. After 34 years of slow-pitch softball, starting next year, boys will be playing baseball while girls will be playing fast-pitch softball in third-season IASAS tournaments.
As the name suggests, slow-pitch softball moves at a relatively slow pace and is arguably less athletically-strenuous than fast-pitch softball or baseball. With the current IASAS rules, pitchers must lob the ball towards the batting plate at a fairly slow speed and must serve with an underhand pitch. On the other hand, baseball and fast-pitch softball pitchers throw the ball towards home plate at a faster speed. Baseball requires an overhand pitch, whereas fast-pitch softball still requires an underhand pitch. In addition to other differences in rules, it also allows base stealing, unlike slow-pitch softball. Hiroki A., a four-year softball tournament athlete, explained that another significant difference includes the fact that the girls will use a bigger softball, which is the same size as the softball the boys have used in past years. The boys, on the other hand, will be using an actual baseball, which is relatively lighter than previous balls used.
Sophomore Ben R., a member of this year’s IASAS softball team, is excited about the transition to baseball. According to Ben, the only thing that will actually change in the game is “the way [the team has to] pitch and bat.” He explained that the team will have to learn “how fast the ball comes and how it moves when it’s pitched.” Despite the change in sport, he believes that the boys will still be able to succeed. “It’s just one way to push us and have more fun along the way,” he says.
Three-time IASAS softball athlete Sammy W. had a different initial reaction. Coming from a strong, slow-pitch softball background, she claims to have found the new rules of fast-pitch softball “intimidating at first.” However, once the news sunk in, it was no longer as nerve-wracking as she originally thought. She states, “Every team is undergoing this change and many ISM players have played either fast-pitch or baseball before.” She believes that training will become more in-depth for the team to hone “new skills… especially in terms of pitchers and catchers.” Rest assured, Sammy believes, “With the athleticism that both ISM softball team players have, we will be able to continue our success come third season IASAS 2017. I’m going to be a senior for the tournament, and even though [this change] is slightly intimidating, I couldn’t be more excited!”
With the amount of hard work that ISM’s softball players put in this third season, they will undoubtedly continue to strive towards success. While this switch may be strenuous, the new rules can bring excitement to both players and spectators.