The will to bat wood
By: Jossi De La Torre
As the youth begin to approach high school level baseball several changes begin to arise: faster pitching, longer inners, and the transition from aluminum bats to wood. Aluminum bats are very prominent throughout youth baseball due to its high probability of the ball “popping” off and reaching greater distances on the field. Aluminum bats allows for youth players to build their mechanics all while gaining strength in preparation for the transition to wooden bats.
Wooden bats require great strength and accuracy and tends to be a bit more challenging for youth players who are shifting into a more competitive realm of baseball. This past weekend in Cocoa Beach, Florida the Sunshine State Wood Bat Showcase was held. Over a dozen teams put forth all their effort in hopes of demonstrating the complexities and beauty of batting with a wooden bat.
Brady Denaburg player of IBA Mustangs 14u, expressed his appreciation of stepping over the plate with a wooden bat. This was Denaburg’s first tournament ever batting without an aluminum bat. Although Denaburg finds difficulty in batting with a larger and heavier bat, he believes that, “Wood bat doesn’t change the game if you keep swinging for line drives.” When asked, what he likes most about wood bats Denaburg expressed that batting with a wood bat allows him to, “feel like one of the pros.”
Isiah Montes from the Central Florida Outlaws 14u, greatly values the strength that it takes to successfully hit without an aluminum bat. Montes respects the challenge of batting wood and strives to hit harder in pursuit of getting on base. When asked what types of changes he has made to increase is chances of hitting the ball with a wood bat, Montes answered, “my stance.” Montes expressed that he would rather bat with wood because it showcases his strength more than an aluminum bat.
Adon Jones of Nation Elite 2021, also experienced his first tournament battingcwith wood. Jones admitted to being a bit nervous in terms of hitting parallel to an aluminum bat. Nonetheless, Jones prefers to bat with wood because of it’s harder impact on the ball. When asked, what types of struggles arise when batting with wood, Jones replied, “Not getting through the ball.” Jones plans on “working up the middle of the field,” to improve batting with wood bat.
Player of BPA Thunder Isaiah Barkett, has been exposed to wood bat tournaments for about four years and genuinely loves the feel of the bat. When asked, what he enjoys most about wood bats, Jones answered, “The sound, the feeling, and how it feels like MLB.” Jones went on expressing that wood bat allows the game of baseball to feel real and authentic. Jones focuses on, “squaring up the ball and hitting harder,” in hopes of successfully hitting with a wood bat.
It is obvious that players of all ages, youth and professional, would rather take the risk of uncertainty that comes with batting with a wood bat. The difficulty and beauty of wooden bats allow for players to feel one with the game. Wood bats introduce this new dimension of adversity that impels players to swing harder and aim for greater distances. Wood bat is what draws the line between want and will. Wood bat is what shapes players to become the best version of themselves.