High school team takes a stand on wooden bats

March 17, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
It is a decision that could put a high school baseball team at a huge disadvantage. Players at Marin Catholic are putting down their high powered composite bats in favor of wooden ones.

Their pitcher was severely injured by a line drive that rocketed off an aluminum bat. As of Wednesday night, he was still in a medically-induced coma.

In a duel fought with wood bats, Marin Catholic's Tyler Scott hammered the game winning homerun in extra innings.

"I thought about Gunnar right away," said Scott.

Pitcher Gunnar Sandberg, 16, was struck in the head with a line drive, last Thursday. He is still in a medically-induced coma and on Wednesday doctors performed surgery to relieve the swelling that refuses to stop.

It was enough to convince Marin catholic to put down their high powered composite bats for good.

When asked if an opposing team decides to play with composite bats, Scott said "It's all good. We don't care. It's for Gunnar. We're trying to make a change."

But Marin Catholic is also asking nine other high schools, in its Marin County Athletic League, to join them in using wood bats.

"You know obviously from safety issue it definitely would be a plus," says Terra Linda High School athletic director Steve Farbstein.

Regardless, Farbstein worries that wood bats will lower stats for players vying for scholarships. It could also be a disadvantage against teams using composite bats in the playoffs.

"A base hit might turn into an out with a wood bat," said Farbstein.

"We're not trying to impress this upon everybody. We're trying to make a statement that perhaps this issue needs to be researched a little bit more," said Marin Catholic athletic director Rick Winter.

They expect a decision this week. It's a tough sell, but Marin Catholic says Tuesday's game, with wood bats, proved a point.

With wood bats, the outfield was not being peppered, the score was low, and the coach says there was something refreshing about it.

"It's kind of the way the game was designed to be played. I mean, I look at some of these college scores now: 21-11, 18-10. I don't think baseball is made to be played that way," said baseball coach Mike Firenzi.

After Marin Catholic's victory, Scott went straight to the hospital and gave his homerun ball -- that he signed -- to Gunnar.

"I said I love him. I wrote 'I love you Gunnar,'" said Scott.


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