Maryland high school baseball teams to use different bats next spring

I once wrote a piece about getting rid of aluminum baseball bats and was assailed by a representative of the aluminum bat industry. I feel even more strongly today that the bat should be banned. First, I believe that they are dangerous and secondly, the bats give young hitters a false impression about their power.

Now I see that the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athleltic Association will follow the lead of the National Federation State High School Associations' baseball rules committee to outlaw the use of the current aluminum bat.

Bats used this past season had to pass the Ball-Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) test. For 2012, the bats will need to meet a different standard, the Ball-Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR), which means the bat's composite core will be less powerful and the bat will act more like a wooden bat.

The testing is done by Washington State University's Sports Science Laboratory, the NCAA Baseball Bat Certification facility.

I am delighted to read that the research has determined that the aluminum bats are more powerful and present a safety risk to the fielders. I said virtually the same thing and got hung out to dry.

This isn't to say that the high school players will be using wood bats next spring, but they will be using that reacts more like wood. I suspect that the number of home runs will drop dramatically.

Baseball was never meant to be played with bats other than the wooden kind. I don't care how many bats are broken.

Natoli signs with Red Sox

Elicott City's Nick Natoli, a senior at Towson University, has signed a free agent contract with the Boston Red Sox. Nick missed all of the 2009 season with a knee injury but more than made up for that this spring. As a shortstop for the Tigers, he led the Colonial Athletic Association with 169 assists and was named the CAA's Defensive Player of the year for the second time. At the plate, he hit .314 with four home runs and 32 runs batted in. He was second on the Tigers with 38 runs scored and led the team in steals (19 in 25 attempts) and a .954 fielding percentage.

Nick, a Mt. St. Joseph graduate, will play for the Lowell Spinners in the New York-Penn League.

Helping Haiti

The River Hill Sports Grille is joining up with Cleats for Bare Feet June 26 from 5-8 p.m. A portion of the profits that evening will go directly toward shipping costs associated with sending second-hand soccer cleats to less privileged kids all over the world.

Cleats for Bare Feet, an offshoot of Cory Macon's Scholar Athlete Academy, has already shipped nearly 1,000 cleats to Haiti.

Softball on the 4th

Since the Fourth of July will be here soon, it is time to talk about one of the most popular events ahead of the fireworks at Lake Kittamaqundi and that is the Longfellow Friends of the Traditional Fourth parade and softball game. The 41st annual parade kicks off at 10 a.m. at Longfellow Elementary School and loops through the Longfellow neighborhood. Anyone who wants to join the parade only has to show up before the start.

The annual softball game between the Eliots Oak Nuts and the Hesperus Wrecks goes off at noon on a softball field just off Rivendell Road, near Harper's Choice Middle School.

This year's parade and softball game will not be quite the same following the passing of Bob Russell, who added so much enthusiasm and his own special touch to both events.

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