- Dec 11, 2010
I have a three wheel pitching machine that will throw either dimple machine balls or leather cover softballs. These high quality machines are becoming more mainstream and I see them in common use more and more.
Upper left is a leather cover Worth Dream Seam. 47 COR, 375 compression. Has raised fast pitch seams.
Upper right is is a leather cover Trump slowpitch ball. 44 COR, 375 compression. Nice thing about slow pitch balls is they have low seams.
Lower left is an ATEC Hi.Per Pro leather cover machine ball. It says it is 44 COR, no compression. It is poly core. The stitches are low and made of Kevlar.
Bottom right is a Baden dimple ball. No idea of COR or compression but it is soft enough that I can push my fingers into it.
So, my machine will throw any of these and I have seen all used except the slow pitch ball. Lets discuss each and I want to know what you think.
First the Dream Seam. It's 47/375. These are generally regarded as the ball that fast pitch bats are designed to hit. Yet this is the ball that I have seen break the most bats in just a few sessions of their use. DD used to play for an org that hit these at 60 plus mph from 30 feet maybe less (Hack Junior set wide open) and they broke so many bats that they didn't want players to use their own bats. (If you are reading this and thinking I am recommending this use of a machine, I am not.)
I actually do not believe the balls caused the damage. The high velocity, added to short distance, plus an inconsistent feed of the ball into the machine plus the added movement of a high seam ball resulted in totally over matched hitters. I think that the bats being broken was from balls hit on the handle and end cap. I think that was why they were breaking bats. Opinions? What was breaking bats in your opinion?
Second- the 44/375 slow pitch ball. Is this ball softer or harder than the 47/375 fp ball or neither? It has a leather cover and low seams. We hit these all the time with me front tossing 30-35 mph and they seem to hold up well. Have not broken bats as a direct result as far as I know. Seems like this might work? Opinions?
Next is the leather cover, low seam Kevlar stitched 44 COR designed for pitching machines and therefore it seems to me that it is designed to hit. Yet we did break one bat (LXT) at about the time we were using these. It was during front toss right after hitting a couple buckets of these. When we hit these it sounds like the balls are pretty hard. The LXT in particular makes a higher pitch clink type noise. I think it may be the luck of the draw, a coincidence, but my buddy whose dd broke her bat really doesn't want to go back to them. Opinions?
Last, the Baden dimple machine ball. Unknown COR/compression. Obviously designed for hitting. The cover seems softer. Again, I can press in the cover with my fingers and I cant with any other of the listed balls. As far as I know, we have never broken a bat due to these and in the tennish years my kids have played, we have hit a ton of machine balls. We have used similar balls in team practices out of machines for years. Yet these are the balls that make everyone the most nervous. A bat expert that I hold in high regard says not to hit these. But why? Are they not softer? Are they not designed to be hit? Why would these be harder on bats than a leather cover softball?
I would love to read some thoughtful comment on this issue. Would love to hear from anyone who has tried the less conventional balls out of a machine and how it has worked for them. I'd like to hear if you think COR/Compression is relevant to this discussion.
Are there any ball options I forgot about?
I'll say this right now: any reply of "use an old bat" or "avoid pitching machines" for this discussion is a cop out.
Have at it people, lets hear what you think.
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