Reader: Lineball a fast-paced, exciting alternative to playing softball

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

One of the most gratifying things (in addition to a paycheck) about writing this column is the feedback I get from the readers. I truly appreciate it when someone takes the time and makes the effort to respond positively or negatively to something I’ve written.

Recently, I received a letter and some information about a game called Lineball from Marilyn Urso in Earlville, Ill. She had recently read my articles about “senior” softball players. She explained, “Lineball retains the most popular parts of the game (softball), batting and fielding, and eliminates the one that has the greatest potential for injury, base running.”

She added: “Less space for the field is required. It’s fast-paced and appreciated by the spectators.”

I went to the website she recommended, and here’s a summary of Lineball.
Lineball is a game like softball, except there is no base running. There are four players on each team. When up to bat, a teammate pitches a 16-inch softball so the hitter can best hit it into the field of play.

The ball must travel a minimum of 40 feet on the fly before hitting the ground. If the ball lands anywhere past that line and between the foul lines, the batter gets a hit. If the ball bounces before the line, or the ball lands in foul territory, then it is foul. Two fouls means the batter is out. A batter who swings and misses is out. A ball caught on the fly by a fielder means the batter is out.

If three hits come before three outs, the batting team gets a run. After the three hits, every consecutive hit scores a run. A homerun occurs when the batter hits a ball that gets past every fielder, even if it is for only a moment. If a homerun is hit, the batter and anyone “on the bases” scores automatically.

This empties the bases, so three hits are needed again for the next run.
Like softball, after three outs, the next team bats. An inning is over after both teams make three outs. The game lasts for five innings. If the game is tied after five innings, extra innings are played until a team wins.

Sounds interesting to me. If you or anyone you know plays Lineball or if there is a league near here, please let me know. I’d enjoy coming out to watch a game sometime this summer.

Thanks to Marilyn for reading our paper and for sending me the information!
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

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