Softball is a variant of baseball played with a larger ball but on a more or less identical diamond field pattern. It was invented in 1887 in Chicago as an indoor game but has since moved outdoors. It was at various times called indoor baseball, mush ball, softbund ball, kitten ball, and, because it was also played by women, ladies’ baseball. (Softball is a misnomer by the way, the ball is actually quite hard.)
Although softball is more of a recreational activity in the UK it is a major sport in over 80 countries around the world with both male and female international competitions. In schools in the US, Japan and Canada it is one of the main sports for girls and is a precursor to baseball for the lads. It is due to return to the Olympic fold in time for the Tokyo games, if plans come to fruition.