(The opinions and comments expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of other HDL officials.)
August is here. That means the HDL only has five more weekends before we start the Playoff’s. Each team has 5 more scheduled games to sharpen their players’ skills and experiment with lineups that will help them play their best in September.
Now that we have switched to wood bats, there are some competitive differences that have evolved. We really don’t know how this season will finish. Any team is capable of making a solid run through the playoffs. Pitching and defense are the main factors that ultimately determine the outcome of any baseball game. Pitching and defense is the equalizer to the opponent’s offensive productivity.
HDL Batter with Wood in July
I don’t know if wood bats are the factor but since we started playing wood bats, HDL players are consistently making more routine plays. Ground balls must be strategically placed to get a “hit” otherwise infielders are getting to the bouncing balls and throwing out runners. Errors are still being made but the errors are mostly throwing errors from fielders rushing throws on plays that they had adequate time to set themselves for a better throw.
I am aware that there are a small group of HDL members who are not crazy about the change to Wood Bats. By looking at the numbers, you are likely to figure out who has the least appreciation for Wood. Since July 2nd, these are “Runs Scored by Team” numbers: Blue (48), Red (34), Gray (29), Orange (15). However, since there were several low scoring games or tight differences, six (6) of ten (10) games were decided by 3 or less runs, including three games decided by one run and one Shutout.
Team records during this period: Blue (3-2), Gray (3-2), Orange (2-2), Red (2-3) At this time I do not have batting or pitching stats but it is my perception that the biggest winner during the introduction of Wood Bats are Pitcher’s ERA’s.
So at this time, Wood Bats have brought parity to the 2014 HDL season. Good hitters are still “good hitters”. It doesn’t make a difference what tool of mass destruction you use to punish a moving baseball. It has been suggested that HDL players explore the benefits of Bamboo Bats. The HDL officers are already shopping for a couple of these to see if they perform any differently. Technically they are “wood” or “non-metal”. What they offer is a denser, lighter bat that is more forgiving and durable when a ball is contacted in a normally weak area where wood might breakdown.
The national trend with adult baseball leagues is greater use of wood bats. So HDL is really following the trend. For players planning to play in post-season tournaments, adapting to Wood Bats can do nothing but help. Swinging any type stick to hit a baseball takes practice and confidence. One helps the other improve and get the best results possible. So keep swinging the lumber and you too can be a “Lumberjack!”
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.