Recommended Backyard Package:
Batting Cage Frame Kit
Batting Cage Net
Batting Cage Frame Kit
Batting Cage Net
Which pitching machine should I buy? Ask yourself these questions.
What are the ages and ability levels of my players?
How long will my players stay with the game?
What do I want the machine to be able to do?
What is your batting practice philosophy?
Will I be using it in a cage or on the field?
If you have young kids, under the age of 10, the BATA-1 would be your likely choices. The overwhelming majority of little leaguers (12 and under) pitch no faster than 50 mph. However, if you think your players will stay with the game at least through high school, you may want to select a higher end machine, something that will last them throughout their playing years.
For players over the ages of 12, any of our machines may be suitable.Again, it depends on how long your players will stay with the game, and your philosophy (and how much you want to spend).
For players with higher than average ability levels, you may want a machine that does more than just throw fastballs. We have four machines that fit that bill.
The BATA-2 and the 2Pitch3 are the only BATA machines that throw over 70 mph. So, if you need more speed than 70 mph, the BATA-2 and 2Pitch3 are your choices. The BATA-2 is best for fielding practice.
If you plan to transport your machine to and from the playing field very often, choosing a smaller, lighter machine like the BATA-1 might be a wise choice.
Your batting practice philosophy is also a factor. Most people believe in one of the following:
(A)Batting practice is to improve your timing, bat control, and hand-eye coordination. Your batting practice pitching should be 5-10 mph slower than the live pitching in your ball games. You want to try to bat 1.000 in batting practice. You want to build confidence.
(B)You want the batter to be challenged. You want to practice hitting pitches that are better and faster than what you would see in a live game. If you can hit those, the pitches in the live game will seem easy.
If you believe in the (A) philosophy, one of the lower end machines will do the job for you. If you believe in the (B) philosophy, the BATA-2 or 2Pitch3 would probably be your choice. Which philosophy you subscribe to will have to be your decision.
Which Auto-Feeder do I buy?
For baseball, we have the 20-Bb Feeder. The Auto feeder will work with any of our machines. For softball, we have the 15-Sb Feeder. Dimpled balls are required for auto-feeding.
Which Remote do I buy? What does the Remote Do?
The Remote On/Off allows you to turn the Auto-feeder on or off from the batter’s box. Either feeder may be used with or without the Remote.
The Cordless Remote On/Off may be used with any of our Auto-Feeders. The Receiver (large part) plugs into your power source (surge protector outlet strip), and the Auto-Feeder’s power cord plugs into the Receiver. The push-button Transmitter is used to start and stop the Auto-Feeder from up to 100′ away.
The Plug In Remote On/Off is a weatherproof gray plastic electrical box with an external switch. The box can be mounted on a wall or vertical member of your batting cage, and may be left outside.
To use the Plug In Remote, you will need to provide two (16 gage) extension cords. One extension will connect the Remote to your power source. The other will connect the Remote to your Feeder.
The advantage of the Plug In Remote over the Cordless Remote is that the Plug In Remote is more reliable and easier to use than the Cordless, and you don’t run the risk of losing parts of it like you might with the Cordless Remote’s transmitter.
The advantage of the Cordless Remote is that you do not need to connect it via
extension cords. Choose the remote that suits your needs best.
If you are going to hand feed your machine, you do not need dimpled balls. However, if you are going to use one of our auto-feeders, dimpled balls are a must. The seams on leather balls cause them to hang up in the feeders. You may be able to get them to work, but it is likely that you will experience too many hang-ups, and a lot of frustration. Dimpled balls are also advantageous in other respects.
They are less expensive than quality leather balls, they last longer, they pitch more consistently, and they are easier on the machine. The abrasive nature of leather ball seams wears the rubber out on the pitching wheels much faster.
Our dimpled baseballs are just slightly softer than a leather baseball, but about 1 ounce lighter (4.5 oz compared to 5.25 oz). They curve better than regular dimpled balls, pitch faster, and although we do not guarantee aluminum bats, our dimpled balls will definitely have less impact on the bat. You are more likely to dent your aluminum bat with real baseballs than with our dimpled balls.
We have 35′, 55′, and 70′ long nets. Which one to buy depends on how much room you have, and how much you are willing to spend. We recommend the 55′ cage in most cases.
With the 55′ cage, you can place the machine and feeder outside the cage, and pitch into the cage through a hole. Making a hole in the net to pitch through is very easy. Pitching in from outside the cage does two things. One, it protects the machine and feeder from most batted balls without the use of a separate protective screen, and two, it saves you money. With the 55′ cage, setting the machine about 4 feet behind the cage gives you a pitching distance of about 56′. This is the perfect distance for high school and above. Remember, when a pitcher releases the ball, his hand is about 4-5 feet in front of the pitching rubber, making the distance about 56′. Custom size tunnel nets are available. They are about 30% more cost, and take about 4 weeks to get.Frame kits can be made to fit any size tunnel net by simply having the metal tubes cut to fit. Metal tubes are not included in our frame kits. The frame kits include the corner fittings and hanger clips only.
In most cases, Ground Sleeves are not needed with our Frame Kits. Our frames are designed so that they will actually stand right on top of the ground (we don’t recommend this unless it is very temporary). Normally, our frame kit would be set in holes that are 6 inches deep (in the dirt or grass). Just enough to keep the vertical members from shifting. Our #2 and #4 Frame Kits do not include Ground Sleeves. Our ground sleeves go into the ground 10 inches. They do add support, but more importantly, they add extra weight to the frame. This may be needed if you are putting the cage in a place where it is very windy. On a 55′ cage, ground sleeves (with ½ of a 90-lb bag of concrete per) will add about 400 extra pounds of weight to the bottom of the frame. Whether or not you need ground sleeves is a judgement call.
Twines — What is the difference between #24, #36, and #42? And what does that number mean?
The twine number is not a unit of measurement. It comes from long ago in the fishing industry, and does nothing more than allow us to identify that one is thicker than another. The higher number is the thicker one. A #24 twine (the string that the net is made of) is about 1/16 inch thick. The other twines are proportionately thicker. A #24 net should last roughly 4 years, the #36 about 6 years, and the #42 about 7 years. It is difficult to predict how long a net will last because there are so many factors. The only advantage to a thicker twine is the life of the net. A #24 net will stop the balls just as well as a #42. It just won’t last as long.
A backstop tarp is needed to keep from wearing out the area of the tunnel net behind the batter. Balls that are missed will hit the back of the cage. The Backstop Tarp is a thick 5′ x 7′ blue vinyl tarp with the outline of the strike zone in white. It also has grommets at the top and bottom.
The screen is optional because if you have the machine outside the cage, you do not need it. If you have the machine and feeder inside the cage, you need something to protect the equipment. An L-Screen is often used, but it does not provide much protection for the equipment. For a screen, we recommend using a Fielder’s Screen, and cutting a hole in it to pitch the ball through. (See Extras) When using our machines on the open practice field, we do not recommend using an auto-feeder for safety reasons. Auto-feeders should only be used in an enclosed batting cage. The Protective Screen is optional on the practice field because it is sometimes not practical to transport a screen to and from the field. We do, however, recommend using a screen whenever possible.