|Softball is a team sport in which a ball, eleven to twelve inches (28 to 30.5 centimeters) in diameter, is thrown by a player called a pitcher and hit by an offensive player called a batter with a round, smooth stick called a bat. Scoring is accomplished by the batter running and touching a series of four markers on the ground called bases. Softball is a direct descendant of baseball, which is sometimes referred to as hardball to distinguish the two, but differs from it in several ways. This article assumes no knowledge of baseball.|
The sport's governing body, the International Softball Federation holds world championships, held every four years, in several categories.