Softball is a variant of baseball played with a larger ball on a smaller field. Invented in 1888 in Chicago as an indoor game, it was at various times called indoor baseball, mush ball, playground ball, kitten ball, softball, and because it was also played by women, ladies' baseball. The name softball was given to the game in 1926. A tournament in 1933 at the Chicago World's Fair spurred interest in the game. The International Softball Federation (ISF) regulates rules of play in more than 110 countries, including the United States and Canada.
Despite the name softball, the ball is not soft. It is about 11 or 12 inches in circumference (depending on the age division and is sometimes larger for slow-pitch), which is 2 to 3 inches larger than a baseball. The infield in fastball is much smaller than in baseball; each base is a maximum of 60 ft from the next (distances are lower for younger age groups), as opposed to baseball's 90 ft. Fastball rules vary somewhat from those of baseball. Two major differences are that the ball must be pitched underhand - from a distance typically 15 to 20 ft shorter than those used by baseball - and that seven innings instead of nine constitute a regulation game.
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2004 Columbia University Press
Fastball just means the Fastpitch version of softball. Softball comes in three varieties: Slowpitch, Fastpitch and "modified". Fastball St. Albert only offers a program for the fastpitch variety of softball. Effectively this means the the pitchers are allowed to use a "wind-up" underhand pitch which allows for more speed in the delivery of the ball.