BAR HARBOR — This year, head coach Mike Swanson is looking hard for skilled base runners and sweet-spot batters while scouting talent for this year’s Mount Desert Island High School boys’ varsity baseball team. New batting regulations took effect at the start of the 2012 baseball season, which are slated to deeply affect the way the game is played.
In order to comply with new standards designed for safety, high school baseball teams throughout the state have been forced to switch to either wooden bats or composite BBCOR (Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution) certified bats.
Arguably, this is the biggest shift in baseball since the switch from wooden to aluminum bats in the ’70s. In regulation high school and college baseball, aluminum bats are now defunct.
The switch is founded on NCAA research that determined that composite barrel bats (aluminum bats) had a ball exit speed significantly faster than regulations allow.
New BBCOR bats will result in a slower exit speed and therefore, are safer, according to the NCAA.
“A big downside to all of this is how expensive the BBCOR bats are,” said assistant coach Andy Pooler. He noted that most teams will use wooden bats in practice to save the wear and tear on the BBCOR ones.
Though the switch will be a serious adjustment for all teams, Swanson welcomes the challenge.
“This year, bunting, hit-and-runs, and stealing are going to be at a premium,” he said. “We’re really going to try and capitalize on our talented base runners.”
The varsity team’s first baseball game of the year for MDI is scheduled for Saturday, April 7 at 11 a.m. in Bar Harbor against Calais High School. Click here for complete schedule.