I've played in leagues where this has been done. I dont like it, but that's the way it is. In the Grand Rapids area I've played in leagues that used both size balls, and also in leagues that just used the larger sized ones.
OT: any coed softball players out there???
Yeah that is very true. Makes no sense to have the different sized balls as well over have of the females in our league can't really make solid contact with smaller, tighter wound ball. Occasionally though your eyes will light up when the pitcher accidentally throws you the girl ball though.
It is funny that leagues all over are taking measures to protect against batters "hitting middle" on pitchers (halo rules, pitching screens, automatic outs for hitting within X feet of the pitcher), but they cling to the 1-1 count. I hit the lines for doubles a lot, but if I am trying to pick the 3b line and hit one foul, the next pitch is going up the middle. Start with an 0-0 count and I bet you would see fewer guys shooting middle.
I cannot stand mat ball. Get an ump that knows the strike zone and play for real. In mat ball, a good pitcher can hit the mat for "strikes" without the ball ever crossing the plate.
If you don't know the strike zone, any part of the ball must cross over any part of the plate (the 'black' is not part of the plate), and it must at the same time have part of the ball be above the bottom of the batter's front knee, and have some part of the ball be below his back shoulder. The pitch must also meet all qualifications of a legal pitch (which also applies with the mat strike zone).
I play in Grand Rapids and I've never heard of this rule. The only rule we have in place is alternating male/female, which is common everywhere I'm pretty sure.
The leagues in Wyoming were using this rule a few years back, havent played since then so not sure if they're still doing it. GR City leagues I believe use just one ball (Silver Dot?) last I knew. Not sure what Kentwood or Knights of Columbus use for their rules though.
Yeah, we play over at Westwood on West River Dr. This rule isn't in effect here.
...the league uses both mens and womens sized balls...
I get the former but am having trouble with the latter...
This might help...
Generally most municipalities will run ASA (Amateur Softball Association of America - competitive but with a lot of rec league) rules which are same ball for both sexes. The usual reason for this is that the insurance companies are hand in hand with ASA which is generally considered the governing voice on all matters pertaining to softball. The NSA (Nat'l Softball Association - a little more competitive) does have a lingering presence in the state and their rule is what you're running into where you're at. You being from the East side there is also a strong presence of USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association - quite competive and not generally used for your average rec league) and ISA (Independent Softball Association - pretty much all serious and not much for the weekend warriors) leagues as well which also run the different ball rules.
ASA has a very large membership, followed by NSA, then U-Trip (USSSA) and then ISA. ASA tends to be much more of your run-of-the-mill beer league rules where they put a heavy emphasis on player safety. Their balls are softer and their bats are slower. I guess I couldn't really tell you for sure if you're in a NSA, U-Trip or ISA league (although I would wager heavily that you're NSA) but that's the reason for the different sized balls. They are trying to give the girls a little more level playing field ball-wise.
To answer your question, I have played co-ed in both ASA and NSA. The smaller ball is harder and therefore the girls can give it a little better ride than with the regular sized ball. The difference is what sanctioning body you are playing under.
ASA uses the 11 inch ball too. Rule 3.3.F.2
It's the hardness and durability per swing. Pretty much everyone uses a .44 core ball but ASA is 375 or lower compression where NSA and the rest use 575 or higher compression. There's a few leagues out there that use the .46 or even higher core ball. Those leagues get fun but with today's bats they can be very dangerous. Dentists love them, though.
Great forum for softball rules questions. I post there under RDD15.
I play and ump ASA only. Not sure about NSA, USSSA, ISA, WSL (or any other association) rules, but.......
ASA rule 3.3.F.2 states that women should hit the 11 inch ball in coed and women's-only slowpitch play. Local leagues may change this up, but the 11 inch ball is the standard for ASA which is the largest sanctioning body for softball in the U.S..
The diameter of the men's ball is the same through all sanctioning bodies. ASA uses the 11 inch for both men and women in co-ed. NSA and the others will switch to the smaller diameter, much harder ball for the women so they get more oomph on their hits. I just realized I'm responding to the same person as above so I won't go into the same specifics as I did above.
The OP wanted to know why his league switched ball sizes. I answered him as accurately as humanly possible. He's not in ASA. He's in a (most likely) NSA league. If he doesn't like the switching I suggest he find an ASA league.
In Ann Arbor rec leagues, everyone uses the same ball, for what it's worth. I have no clue what size it is. Seems like a normal softball.
(It's the ball on the left, for those of you drinking as heavily as I am)
I was in a league that had separate balls about 6 years ago. It was mostly because the field we played on was pretty short to left field. So they used a limited flight full size ball for the men, and a smaller max-flight ball for the women.
That limited flight ball was crazy, you really had to get a hold of it to hit it out, even with a good Demarini bat.
I use to play coed where they would switch balls for the guys and girls. Girls would hit an 11" ball while the guys hit a 12" flight restricted ball. They also made the guys swing a smaller bat. Girls could swing any bat they wanted and the guys had to use a 26" bat that they provided. They really tried to protect the girls from getting hurt.
I am playing in the sf rec league right now and we use both sizes