Change of Sound at Wood Bat Tournament
This weekend in Boonville, the ping of metal bats was replaced by wood bats. "We've got a couple guys that use wood bats almost all the time, in the batting cage, and at practice," said Boonville baseball coach Fred Smith. "So its nothing new for a couple guys, and couple of the younger guys its their first experience, which that was pretty neat."
The idea of a wooden bat tournament wasn't the idea of the athletic director or the coaches, the players wanted it. "Some of our kids play summer baseball here in the Babe Ruth program, and they always go to a Wood Bat Tournament in Sedalia," said Boonville Athletic Director Terry Davis. "So they thought it would be a neat idea to have our own so that's what we decided to do."
The biggest difference between aluminum and wooden bats is the ability to hit the ball when you get jammed. If you hit the ball off the handle of an aluminum bat, you can still muscle it out of the infield, but on a wooden bat, you hit it in the same spot, you are either going to dribble it back to the pitcher, or shatter the bat. This is just one of the challenges the players had to overcome.
"Off the bat, as a fielder, its much slower," said Boonville third baseman Brett Shelton. "And as a hitter there's no room for error. Anything inside you're sawed off and down a bat."
"That's one of the things we've stressed or wanted to do with the wood bat," Smith said. "You're not going to get any cheap hits, that you would with the aluminum bat."
And the players know that one day they might make the next level of baseball, and permanantly switch to wooden bats. The Wood Bat Tournament included Boonville, Moberly, Centralia, and Grain Valley. Boonville hopes to attract more teams in the coming years.