Little Leaguers get less pop in their bats
By TOMMY BUTLER
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — New bat rules aimed at keeping the ball in play and pitchers safer are having another effect at the Little League World Series: fewer home runs.
Until this season, bats were often made from reinforced carbon fiber polymer. The problem was that as they were used over time, the bats actually sent balls farther and at higher speeds in what’s called the trampoline effect.
Under a new performance standard from USA Baseball, bats are now built to act more like the wooden bats used in the majors — less ping and less pop. While keeping pitchers and infielders safer from laser comebackers and line drives, coaches agree the new bats have less power.
“Crazy different, man,” said Kurt Barr, coach of the Grosse Pointe team representing the Great Lakes. “You see it out there, it takes almost a perfect shot to hit it over a 225-foot fence. The ball sounds good coming off the bat, the swing looks good and these things just die.”
Only 10 home runs had been hit in 21 games as the LLWS reached its midpoint Monday.
In 2017, 61 homers were hit across the tournament and the U.S. champs from Lufkin, Texas, hit 11 by themselves.