British/Welsh baseball vs North American baseball/softball

After our day at St Albans, I found myself needing to be completely savvy with all the differences between what they play and what we play. I think I’m shamelessly past the point where I am allowed to say “Good question, I’ll look that up.”

And so! I now give you a quick guide to the differences between the British/Welsh* version and the North American version of the game. Note the handy colour-coding of the sports, which correspond with the differences below. NOTE THEM!!! If you like.

Delivery of the ball – The ball is thrown underarm, similar to softball. As in cricket the delivery is known as bowling. In North American baseball it is delivered overhand (baseball), sidearm (baseball), or underarm (softball) and is called pitching. There is no run-up during the the bowl like there is in the British/Welsh version.

Field dimensions / layout – the last base in British/Welsh baseball is not where the batter originally started, but nearby. In North American baseball / softball, the last base (“home plate”) is where the batter starts.

British / Welsh Baseball field North American Baseball field

Ball size – for British/Welsh, circumference between 8.5 in and 9 in, weight between 4.5 and 5 oz.  Under the current rules, a major league baseball weighs between 5 and 5 14 ounces, and is 9 to 9 14inches in circumference. A softball is 11 or 12 inches in circumference depending on gender and league.

Number of players – There are 11 players in a British/Welsh team with no substitutions allowed. North American baseball uses 9 players on a team (not counting a “designated hitter“); while substitutions are allowed, a player who leaves the game may not re-enter it. In coed (men and women) games, there are 10 players.

Number of innings – (Note that British/Welsh baseball uses the cricket terminology of “innings” as both singular and plural, while baseball uses “inning” for the singular.) In British/Welsh baseball, each team has two innings. An innings ends when all 11 players are either dismissed or stranded on base. A regulation game of North American baseball consists of nine innings, and each team’s half of an inning ends when three outs (dismissals) are recorded.

Number of pitches – According to the Welsh Baseball Union, two “good balls” not swung at is an out and on the swing, the batter must run whether they hit it or not. In North American baseball and softball, the pitcher must throw three “strikes” (a good pitch that is either not swung at or swung at and missed) to get the batter out. If four “balls” (a bad pitch that is not swung at) are thrown, the batter gets to go to first base, called a “walk”.

Posts/Bases – Where North American baseball has bases the British/Welsh version has ‘posts’ (sometimes referred to as bases). These are designated by poles rather than bags.

Bat – the British/Welsh baseball bat has a flat striking surface, where in North American baseball/softball it is entirely round.

Gloves – British/Welsh baseball does not allow gloves and North American baseball / softball requires them.

Scoring system – In British/Welsh baseball a player scores a run for every base he/she reaches after hitting the ball. He or she will not subsequently score when moving around the bases on another player’s hit. The equivalent of a home run scores four runs. As in cricket a bonus run can be awarded for excessively-wide deliveries. In North American baseball, a player scores a run only on a successful circuit of all four bases, whether on his own or another player’s hit, or by other means such as a walk or stolen base.

Field of play – The British/Welsh game has no foul area, a ball can be legally hit (and scored off of) in any direction, where in North American baseball it has to be hit in the zone bounded by the lines to first base and third base.


Additionally, something I found a little frustrating in the British/Welsh version is that the batter has to have their front foot (the one closest to the bowler) near a peg. That seems to me to be a recipe for injury.

* Please note: when the term “British/Welsh” has been used above, it is simply shorthand for “British Baseball or Welsh Baseball” … I am not stating that the game is called “British/Welsh Baseball” . . . that is not a thing.

2 Comments on “British/Welsh baseball vs North American baseball/softball

  1. So in British Baseball, what is the point of staying on base after you hit the ball? For example, you hit the ball and make it to the first peg/base and get 1 run. But other than that initial hit what is the point of running the bases when the next person hits if you’re not scoring anymore runs?

    • I believe the point is that when you get put out in British Baseball, you are done with the game, so you need to get around back to the last base in order to stay in the game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *