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Flat Seam Pitching Machine Baseballs

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  • Flat Seam Pitching Machine Baseballs

    I've been buying Wilson A1010S blem baseballs for years. https://www.hq4sports.com/wia1ba1dobl.html I can't find a better quality baseball for the money, and I don't know what makes them blem balls, except that I read several years ago they were missing some kind of stamp. They have SST raised seams like the A1010HS1 that my son plays high school ball with. The only difference is the HS1 uses grade B leather and the A1010S blem uses A grade, but the A1010S can be bought for slightly more than half the cost of the HS1. If you're in the market, I highly recommend them.

    I recently ran across a really good deal on a used Hack Attack Jr. pitching machine that I am considering purchasing. In researching the machine it seems that it is very important to use flat seam baseballs for 3 reasons. 1) Control - The wheels apparently grab the seams in very different ways which causes a loss of accuracy. Makes sense. 2) Life expectancy of the baseballs. With the wheels grabbing and pulling the seams, there are repeated reports of the glue holding the leather to the internal winds breaking down and the balls becoming "soft", and the leather covers literally being ripped off of the ball. Also, the seams themselves get ripped pretty quickly. 3) Life expectancy of the wheels on the machine is effected. With more friction the wheels wear down sooner. I also read that the raised seams leave a residue on the wheels that causes accuracy issues and requires more frequent cleaning of the wheels.

    I want to stick with leather baseballs, but if I'm going to invest the kind of money it takes to get a Hack Attack, I want to run the kind of balls through it that will maximize it's accuracy and longevity. I've run across some balls made specifically for pitching machines with flashy buzzwords like "kevlar seams". At a quick glance Wilson and Rawlings both have "flat seam" models of baseballs. Here are a few:
    https://www.wilson.com/en-us/teams/p...-seam-baseball

    https://baseball.epicsports.com/prod...hoCK4sQAvD_BwE

    https://www.wilson.com/en-us/basebal...eballs-12-pack

    So my A1010S balls are apparently not going to work well. Can anyone provide me some insight as to which flat seam balls offer the best combination of durability, feel at contact, and affordability. Any help is much appreciated.
    Last edited by workinprogress; 01-09-2020, 05:07 PM.

  • #2
    I used these in the past and they were pretty good.

    https://betterbaseball.com/jugs-pearl-baseballs-b5200

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    • #3
      I can attest to these statements....
      1) Control - The wheels apparently grab the seams in very different ways which causes a loss of accuracy. Makes sense. 2) Life expectancy of the baseballs. With the wheels grabbing and pulling the seams, there are repeated reports of the glue holding the leather to the internal winds breaking down and the balls becoming "soft", and the leather covers literally being ripped off of the ball. Also, the seams themselves get ripped pretty quickly. 3) Life expectancy of the wheels on the machine is effected. With more friction the wheels wear down sooner. I also read that the raised seams leave a residue on the wheels that causes accuracy issues and requires more frequent cleaning of the wheels.
      ...are 100% accurate.

      As such, I simply went to using the ATEC hard yellow dimple balls in my ATEC Casey Pro after thinking throwing/hitting leather balls was somehow better (at the time, "flat seamed" machine balls were not a thing yet). In the long and the short of it, I found no reason that the dimple balls were any less effective in training hitters, and the much longer life, and thus cost efficiency, outweighed any possible slight difference if there could have possibly been any...which I doubt.

      Note: The above is wrt training multiple hitters per day in our backyard cage, that was half artificial grass where the batter's boxes were, and half concrete where the machine stood which played havoc on the covers of the leather balls in short order. So if someone were to use an all grass cage, or were hitting on an open baseball field, I'm guessing the leather balls would last a little longer than mine...but the fast spinning wheels grabbing the mostly stationary leather ball being fed into it, definitely wears covers very quickly and greatly shortens their life compared to the hard rubber/plastic dimple balls made for the machines.
      In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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      • #4
        I use the Diamond flat seemed balls with our machine when we use the machine in scrimage type situations so defense can field a leather ball. In the cage we typically use the Jugs or McGreggor yellow dimple balls (both are not too hard and seem to be better for bats). The cage seems to increase the wear of the leather machine balls as they often hit chain link fence. With that said, if money wasnt an issue, I would use the leather flat seamed machine balls more.

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