The high school baseball season opened last night, and fans should not be surprised if they see lower scores from their local squad this summer. The National Federation of High Schools passed new standards for bats this year that mirror ones put in place by the NCAA a year ago.
There is a smaller “sweet spot” with the new bats, which Waterloo West coach Kory Kelchen says makes the bats less forgiving to hitters.
Cedar Falls coach Jack Sole says that good hitters won’t see much of a difference with the new bats, but guys hitting lower in the order will likely have a tougher time making solid contact.
Coaches around the area, including Denver’s Brent Matthias, say that the bats will create an increased focus on playing “small ball.” He says the first three weeks of practice they spent more time on small ball because of the new bats. Matthias says you will now be seeing games where a cleanup hitter will be called on to bunt instead of trying to muscle out a hit as they did with the old style bats.
While many coaches say that there will be a big drop in scoring, Sole thinks teams might still put up the same number of runs, they just be scoring them differently. Matthias says another by-product will be less stress put on the average high school pitching staff.
All bats must now be within Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution or BBCOR standards. Approved bats will have a BBCOR sticker on the barrel.
By Jesse Gavin KCNZ Cedar Falls