How Many Innings Are in a Softball Game?

If you’re only beginning to learn about the game of softball or plan to watch someone in your family or a friend playing, you may be thinking about how many innings are in a softball game.

You might be shocked to discover that a majority of young softball players don’t have the answers to that question. I chose the term ‘full-length’ in the above statement because full-length games are rarely played.

It is well-known that softball and baseball are similar, but some important differences exist. One major difference between baseball and softball is the length of time played during every game. This leads us back to our question. “How many innings are in a softball game?”

How Many Innings Are in Softball?

A typical softball game consists of seven innings. This is not the case for youth softball, which is six innings. Understand that every inning consists of two halves: the top and bottom half, innings can last as long as three consecutive outs or longer if teams keep scoring.

There are no ties in softball; If the scores are tied following seven innings, an extra game is used until the winner is determined, and if there is a mercy rule, the game may be shorter than seven innings.

How Does Softball Innings Work?

Softball innings are just the same as baseball innings. When the home team is on the field to start an inning, the opposing team gets to bat first. When the team that has the ball has three outs, the top of the inning is complete.

After that, the bottom of the innings will start, and the roles of both teams will shift. The visiting team’s turn to bat and the home team’s turn to field. Home team bats at the bottom of the inning until the visiting team has three outs.

In the top and bottom, an inning is finished before the game moves on into the next inning until the game is over.

The amount of innings played in a softball match can differ based on the level of play. College and high school softball games typically run seven innings long, whereas the adult leagues of fastpitch softball may be between seven and nine innings.

Youth leagues can include games that are six innings long or restricted by a time frame. No matter the length of innings, every game comprises two halves where both teams change roles every half-inning to defensive and offensive.

How many Innings in Softball World Series?

In softball world series, there are 7 innings. It’s basically the same everywhere

How many innings in Slow Pitch Softball?

In slow-pitch softball, the number of innings can vary based on the league, tournament rules, and the level of play. Typically, slow-pitch softball games can have 7, 9, or even 10 innings. The choice of innings often depends on the rules set by the organizing body or league.

Softball Game Innings By Level

Here’s a breakdown of all the different softball levels:

  • Youth Softball Games
  • High School Softball Games
  • College Softball Games
  • Adult Recreational Softball Games
  • Olympic Softball Games

How many innings are there in a Youth Softball Game?

A standard softball match for youth players lasts seven innings. Some softball teams play games with six innings, and like other levels, every inning is split into two parts: the top and bottom, with each team getting the chance to bat. The team from the away side bats first, while the home team plays second. The innings will continue until there are three outs achieved.

How Many Innings are there in a High School Softball Game?

There are seven innings in a high school softball game. Most high school games adhere to the strict time limitation of 1 hour 45 mins, hence the game will be over after seven innings have been completed or when the allocated time has expired. 

How many Innings in a College Softball Game?

At the college level, softball matches are seven innings. If the score remains tied after seven innings of play, the game will continue into extra innings until a winner is identified. The majority of college softball games run for as long as two hours.

How many Innings are there in the Adult Recreational Softball Game?

Softball is not only a popular sport for youth but also enjoyed by adults. There are numerous adult slow-pitch and fast-pitch softball leagues around the world.

Most adult softball leagues consist of seven innings or a set time of 45 minutes to an hour. The game will end with whichever one happens first. For instance, if it’s a speedy moving game that has lasted seven innings and only 30 of the 45 minutes have been played, the game will end.

However, in the case of an extremely slow-paced game and just five innings have been played, but the game lasts 45 minutes, the game will be over when the next innings ends.

The reason for this is to ensure that the games are played within an agreed time frame and most likely because they are playing just for the fun of it, not enough energy to continue since they are not as youthful as they used to be. 

How many Innings are in the Olympic Softball Game?

An Olympic Softball match is played in seven innings that are not timed. After both teams are able to bat and six outs have been made, a full inning has been played. If, after seven innings, it is tied, additional games are played up until one team wins the game.

The level and organization of softball have rules that are slightly different, and there are some exceptions that may alter the number of innings played.

Softball Innings Level Rule Exceptions

Although most softball games are seven innings in length, there are some exceptions to the standard length. Certain leagues, particularly recreational softball leagues, are subject to the time, which is 45 mins to one hour. The game could also be delayed because of weather conditions or an arbitrary run rule.

Here are some exceptions that can make a softball game unable to last seven innings.

Run Rule

After three or five innings of play, if there is a team that is ahead by a significant number of runs, most leagues will use a mercy rule to prevent games from going seven innings long. Every league is different, but most leagues have a mercy rule of 20 runs in advance over three innings and 10 during five innings.

The game will end if a team is in front by this amount of runs, and the inning is over. This is one reason the softball game might not last for the entire seven innings.

Time Limit

Some youth or adult softball leagues have a specific time limit for how long every game must be played. Some leagues have the rule of 45 minutes, while others have a set time of one hour and an hour and a half.

When the allocated time is over, and the current inning has finished, the game will conclude. However, until there is a tie, the game will continue. This is another reason the game could end prematurely.


Another reason a softball match may not last the entire seven innings is the weather. To allow a game to count as official, the minimum number of innings that must be played for most softball leagues is five innings.

If the umpires decide to call the game off due to bad weather, and it’s longer than five innings, the game will conclude, and the team ahead is the winner. If the game isn’t over five innings, or it’s an even game, then they normally are rescheduled.

Softball and the Mercy Rule Explained

College softball employs a run rule to end games faster when one team is far ahead of the other. This rule basically states that a team with a lead of more than 8 points (or more) at the end of the fifth inning or more is the winner automatically.

What’s really bizarre is when in 2022, the Oklahoma Sooners Softball team used their powerful softball bats to smash numerous runs that they ended 41 of their 59 wins with the mercy rule.

How Extra Innings Work

After the conclusion of a softball match, if the score remains in a tie, extra innings are added to the game until a winner emerges. In some cases, it could require only one additional inning during a game or be spread over several extra innings.

While most softball games conclude after seven innings of the standard, some games take longer. The longest softball game in NCAA history was 31 innings and ran for more than six hours. This is not typical by any means, but it goes to show that anything can happen during extra innings.

Baseball vs. Softball Innings

There are a few minor rule changes that are in a different way of pitching and a different barrel of bat, but the fundamentals of the game remain identical. Similar style of warm-ups, the same fielders take their positions in the outfield, and the infield and hitters who are trying to get to first base (or better), and the same umpire calls strikes and balls behind home plate.

There is nothing in softball that says you should take out two innings rather than playing nine innings like a baseball game.

It’s not clear why softball as a sport adopted seven inning games, as the gameplay between the two is virtually identical. The seventh inning becoming the final inning of a game is like something that was made before Title IX, and no one had ever thought of challenging the decision.

Some baseball leagues, such as summer leagues for high school students and youth leagues, play seven innings as softball leagues, but it’s more than a case of exception.

Baseball and softball have additional innings when games have a tie at the close of regulation. Unlike baseball, which recently adopted automatic runners in the pandemic, softball rules have long held the Tiebreaker Rule. 


I am always amazed that a lot of people don’t know how many innings are played in the game of softball. If you’re a participant, coach, or fan, it’s crucial to be aware of how to follow the regulations and rules of your league so you know what you can expect and how many innings will be played during your game.

In the end, a professional softball match is seven innings, whereas baseball games have nine innings. If, after seven innings, the game continues into extra innings. It typically takes less than 2 hours for a pro-level softball match. In most amateur leagues, softball games run less than an hour and 45 minutes.

Leave a Reply

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