Swing, Batter

Gone are the days of simply grabbing a banged-up Louisville Slugger and heading to the sandlot. Little League–appropriate bat specs now vary depending on kids’ ages and playing levels, with a debate raging over the relative safety of wood versus metal bats. Wood advocates argue that metal hits harder and is unsafe for pitchers, who can be knocked flat by line drives. Converts say metal bats are lighter, easier to swing (especially for the littlest Little Leaguers), and less likely to shatter. The current options are dizzying: Metal bats can be double or single walled, covered in tattoo-like graphics, and made of materials more often associated with airplanes; wood bats are equally aerodynamic and are constructed out of maple, or even bamboo, more often than classic ash. Then there are hybrids, with a wood core surrounded by a fiberglass shell. How do they hit? We asked the Brooklyn Bulldogs, the 12U traveling team of the 78th Precinct Youth Council, to sample a selection of 2009 models during a Thursday-afternoon batting practice and pick their favorites.

The Starting Nine
Our Little Leaguers’ top picks.

Photo: Hannah Whitaker

Easton Rampage, $59.99
Rawlings Triumph, $49.99
Easton Typhoon, $49.99
Easton Reflex, $69.99
Easton Stealth, $199
Mattingly Beast, $229.99
Easton Cyclone, $29.99

Mizuno MZM271, $49.99

CTG Athletics, Verdero Woody Junior, $99
All bats available at Modell’s (1535 Third Ave., nr. 86th St.; 212-996-3800; modells.com).

Swing, Batter