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The Hottest Gift for High School Baseball Players Is…A Brand New Bat!
Rules Change Requires New Bats for All High School Players in 2012

Louisville, Ky. – Every single high school baseball player in America will be swinging a brand new bat in the coming season because bats that were legal for play last year are not legal in 2012.  That means half-a-million teenaged boys playing high school baseball all need to get new bats.  The mandate is making baseball bats one very hot holiday gift item this year. 

The change in bats comes after the National Federation of High Schools adopted the NCAA’s standard for bat legality, the Ball-Bat Coefficient of Restitution or BBCOR starting in January 2012.  The NFHS says the new standard ensures that performances by non-wood bats (aluminum, composite and hybrid) are more comparable to those of wood bats. 

THE IMPACT OF BBCOR BATS – WHAT’S EXPECTED FOR HIGH SCHOOL BALL
BBCOR bats will change the way baseball is played at the high school level.  Over the past several decades, the game has had a focus on power and the long ball.  Since BBCOR bats perform more like wood, it’s understood that high school games will now be more strategic; hit and run, hitting behind the runner, bunts and sacrifices will be more important than they have been in years.

“Waiting for a three-run homer to win the game in the eighth or ninth inning is mostly a thing of the past with the new BBCOR bats,” said James Sass, who is the Louisville Slugger TPX Global Product Director for Bats. “Now, the little things matter most. The emphasis in high school baseball will be on line drives and ground balls instead of long-ball offense. Hitters will need an edge, and the right BBCOR bat is a big part of that edge.”

Making the right BBCOR bat choice is really a matter of personal preference for high school players because, like in Major League Baseball, no two hitters are ever exactly alike.  So, as holiday shoppers head to the stores or search online for gifts in the coming weeks, here are some tips from Louisville Slugger, baseball’s bat authority and maker of the best bats in BBCOR, to help moms, dads and high school baseball players pick the right bats:

Weight: Generally, bigger, stronger players prefer heavier bats. Smaller players benefit from lighter bats that allow faster bat speed.  Some players prefer a bat that is balanced, while others like one with more weight in the barrel.  BBCOR bats will have weight ranges from 27-31 ounces.  Be sure to find out the player’s weight and balance preferences before making a purchase.

Length: BBCOR bats will range in length from 30-34 inches.  Longer bats give greater reach, so players can hit balls on the opposite side of the plate. But longer bats are also heavier, which can affect bat speed. 

Barrel Diameter: High school and college players are restricted to a maximum barrel diameter of 2-5/8."

Bat Material:

  • Aluminum alloys of different types are used in today’s bats, each with different characteristics. The alloy is often a factor in the price difference among bats.
  • Composite bats combine graphite, fiberglass and resin. Composite bats have a unique sound that some players prefer.
  • Hybrid bats combine aluminum alloy with composite materials so that batters have the best of both worlds: an aluminum barrel with a stiff composite handle.

Feel: This may be the most important factor! The bat should feel comfortable to the hitter.  And no two hitters are exactly alike.  Every player has his own personal preferences when it comes to “feel.”

Sweet Spot: While BBCOR bats will perform more like a wood bat than previous aluminum, composite, and hybrid bats, baseball bat companies can still engineer the sweet spots to be very large, much larger than those on a wood bat.  That means BBCOR bats will continue to perform better than wood bats on inside hits and when a batter fails to make contact squarely on the barrel.  Because of these advantages, most players will want a BBCOR bat with a sweet spot that is as large as it can be. 

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THIS CHANGING GAME?
Anyone who wants to understand the likely impact of the changing high school game can look at college baseball statistics from the 2011 season.  That’s when the NCAA required BBCOR bats be used.  The NCAA reports that Division I batting average, scoring and home runs per game in 2011 resembled the wood-bat 1970s more than they do recent years. Division I teams averaged 5.58 runs per game in 2011, well below the record 7.12 in 1998 and under 6 for the first time since 1977 (5.83), which was just the fourth season of the aluminum bat in college baseball. There were fewer home runs in college baseball in 2011 as well, with .52 per team per game compared with .94 last year and 1.06 in 1998 (the peak year for that category). Those numbers resemble the wood-bat days (.42 in the last year of wood in 1973, and .49, .50 and .55 in the first three years of metal).  Batting average in 2011 was .282, the lowest since 1976.  While hitting declined, pitching improved as earned-run average was its best (4.70) since 1980 (4.59).  The bottom line, the high school game will be played differently, and having the right BBCOR bat with a huge sweet spot will be important for players looking for a competitive edge.

Attention Editors:
For images of the new BBCOR-certified bats and other Louisville Slugger products, go to www.slugger.com/media.

For video and additional background on Louisville Slugger BBCOR bats, go to

For additional information, go to www.slugger.com or www.facebook/louisvilleslugger.

About Louisville Slugger®
Louisville Slugger® is the Official Bat of Major League Baseball® and is a name that is synonymous with America's pastime. Originating in 1884, Louisville Slugger bats graced the hands of the greatest players in baseball history, including Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron, to name a few. Stars of today also swing Louisville Slugger bats, including Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Joey Votto and Lance Berkman. Louisville Slugger also makes TPX® baseball equipment for college, high school and youth players, as well as TPS® equipment for slow-pitch and fastpitch softball. Louisville Slugger is a brand of the Hillerich & Bradsby Co., a fifth-generation family-owned company that also sells PowerBilt® golf equipment and Bionic® Gloves for a variety of sports and hobbies.

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