Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Absurdities: Hitting a Pro Softball Pitch

Absurdities is a recurring series in which I vent about things I find absurd. Today's subject might be the most absurd thing I have featured.

I have some friends who legitimately think they could get a hit off women pro softball pitchers, like the now-retired Monica Abbott. I maintain even in their prime, the average male athlete doesn't stand a chance of getting a hit off of any pro or even college pitcher.

Softball pitchers can regularly hit 70 mph from 43 feet away. That's equivalent to 101.2 mph in baseball. In softball, that translates to a .360 second reaction time. In baseball, a 100 mph leaves the batter with .400 seconds to react. A much slower softball pitch like 60 mph only gives the batter .420 seconds to react.

Granted, I am not and never was a great athlete, but in my few experiences against live softball pitching, I quickly realized the futility of trying. In an exhibition game, against the Chicago Bandits, I struck out against Kirsten Verdun and her 50 mph pitch. I am quite sure, she wasn't giving it her all, but I saw nothing, only hearing it slam into the mitt of catcher Taylor Edwards. The rest of my team, a semi-pro men's 12 inch team, struck out 12 times.

A couple seasons later, I took batting practice with catcher Kristyn Sandburg. I did get a few decent shots off of her, until she actually tried. Then I was lucky to get any wood on the ball.

In the last three years, I participated in a Home Run Derby at Loyola. Those pitches were lobbed in and I did get some nice hits. When a few ex-male athletes asked for real pitches, they were severely overmatched.

I suppose, if my friends were in their prime and devoted months to practice, they might get solid hits, but with minimal practice, they would stand no chance.

It looks easy, until you are in the batter's box. The pitch comes at different angles, with odd spins. It's entirely different from hitting a baseball.

That's my rant. I know several readers were good athletes in their prime. I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on hitting against an average pro or college woman softball pitcher.

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