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Aluminum and alloy bats are standard in youth and high school leagues.
Baseball is a seemingly simple game with a basic set of equipment, when compared to other sports. For example, all you really need for offensive production is a baseball bat. The type of bat you use will depend on what type of league you play in, what type of hitter you want to be and, ultimately, how much money you want to devote to the equipment. Baseball bats come in four basic types, yet each of these types can be crafted from various materials in numerous configurations to suit any style of hitting.
The classic baseball bat used in professional leagues is made of wood, and this is a standard that has existed since the sport's earliest days. Minor and major leagues across the globe exclusively use wood baseball bats in games and batting-cage sessions. The types of wood used, however, differ greatly from league to league and era to era. For example, the Major League Baseball bats produced by Louisville Slugger used to be made only from white ash wood, giving the bat a thick, dense composition. Professional leagues have since switched to the use of maple wood bats, which are lighter but have a tendency to break more often under the rigors of regular use. Other types of wood, such as hickory and bamboo, have become increasingly popular, but are not sanctioned for use by most professional leagues.
Aluminum is the material most commonly used for baseball bats from little league through high school and college. Aluminum is lighter and more durable, and aluminum bats are easier to swing than wood bats of equal size, making them ideal for younger players learning the proper mechanics of a good swing. Also, aluminum bats allow the ball to вЂњpopвЂќ off the bat with greater speed, which compensates for a lack of strength and accuracy in younger players who are unable to duplicate their efforts with wood bats.
Composite bats are crafted from a blend of graphite, plastic and sometimes titanium and give young players a bat that is even lighter than aluminum. This lets children compete at a comparatively high level in lower leagues. Composite bats are more expensive than aluminum bats and are not allowed for in-game play for certain leagues. Also, the composite material is not as durable as aluminum, especially in the portion between the handle and the barrel.
Hybrid bats essentially combine the strengths of both aluminum and composite bats, while eliminating the drawbacks. A hybrid bat is most often constructed with an aluminum handle and spine, while the barrel is pressure-molded composite materials, including the aforementioned graphite, plastic and titanium. The hybrid bat's greatest strength is its durability, providing resistance to dents, dings, bends, defects and warping over time. The primary drawbacks are that hybrids are not allowed for competitive play in some leagues and that they cost as much as composite bats, making aluminum a better option for some hitters.