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We get a lot of phone calls asking, “Why should I buy a First Pitch machine when I have never heard of them?” There are several reasons to purchase a First Pitch machine, but it depends on your situation. We’re going to try to help you determine whether First Pitch machines are the right ones for you. Below is a little history of the First Pitch machines:
First Pitch is located in Greenfield, Minnesota, which is located in the greater metropolitan area of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul. They started out supplying pitching machines to local Little League teams locally and then through word-of-mouth they started getting inquiries from coaches, players and parents throughout the United States. First Pitch has now been producing these quality machines for over 13 years now!
First Pitch’s unique niche in the marketplace is HIGH-QUALITY, LOW-COST baseball and softball machines, providing an excellent value in pitching machines that are a great baseball training aid and lots of fun for players and coaches, Little League teams and softball teams. First Pitch machines offer the BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK and are comparable in quality to machines that cost twice as much or more. They are one of the few pitching machine manufacturers that can claim they are made in the USA.
First Pitch does not have as sophisticated control panel (box that controls the pitch speed) as some other machines, and this can be a drawback in some situations. The First Pitch machines dials typically read 10 through 90 (depending on the machine), leaving the user to have to estimate the pitch in that general velocity. Other top-of-the-line brands will have more sophisticated control panels that will precisely tell the velocity and type of pitch. Often, college coaches want these more sophisticated control panels for situations where numerous individuals (batting cage facilities for example) are going to be using the machine. A single user (or only a few) typically have no problem with the 10 through 90 controls as with extended use they will get a good feeling of the velocities the dials represent.
First Pitch is sometimes referred to as the “Red JUGS Machine.” This is due to JUGS being the most known name in the industry and First Pitch being constructed very similarly to them. In fact, a First Pitch machine has a lot in common with Jugs in terms of style and basic functionality. First Pitch baseball pitching machines come in four styles: The First Pitch Original, the First Pitch Curveball, the First Pitch XL, and the First Pitch Baseline.
All but the Curveball are single-wheel pitching machines. A unique characteristic of First Pitch machines is that all four of their machines are technically Combo machines, for use with both baseball and softball. First Pitch machines come with a single chute, your choice of either softball or baseball, and they will sell you the other chute for a small additional price. To convert a machine from baseball to softball or vice-versa, you simply switch around the legs (softball machines pitch from a low point to simulate an underhand throw), unscrew the chute and screw on the new one, and then adjust the strike plate (the plate opposite the wheel). This whole process takes roughly 15 minutes when learning the machine, and as little as 7-8 once you have done it several times.
Here is a little about each machine:
FIRST PITCH ORIGINAL
The First Pitch Original pitching machine is, not surprisingly, the first and original machine First Pitch built. Thirteen years later, it is still a great machine. The Original pitches up to 80 miles-per-hour, can throw real balls or the soft, dimpled balls, and weighs only 55 lbs, which makes it easily transportable.
Unlike the other First Pitch machines, you need to exchange the legs to switch between baseball and softball. You can buy the machine with either set of legs or both.
This machine is perfect for backyards. The 1/3 horsepower motor, ability to serve as baseball and softball machine, the low weight and the low price of the machine make it one of the best backyard pitching machine options one could hope for.
See the First Pitch Original here:
FIRST PITCH BASELINE
The First Pitch Baseline pitching machine is essentially a lower-powered version of the Original, eschewing a few features for a lower price tag. Like the Original, the Baseline is a single-wheel machine that can throw baseballs or softballs. It is portable (like the Original, the Baseline weighs in at 55 lbs.), built with high-quality parts, and can be used with a feeder for one-person use.
Where it differs is primarily in the motor. The Baseline uses a 1/4 horsepower motor which gives it a top-speed of 70 MPH (compared to the Original’s 80). This machine is not perfect for high school players who are facing 80 – 85 mph pitches in their games, but is an excellent machine for a younger crowd. If you are looking for a great, well-built machine for around $600, the First Pitch Baseline is the best around.
FIRST PITCH XL
The First Pitch XL pitching machine is the bigger brother of the First Pitch Original. It has the same 1/3 horsepower motor, with an oversize shaft and bearing system for extra stability. The leg system doesn’t require you to switch them like the Original or swivel them like the Baseline, but instead can be easily pivoted in their mounting to adjust between baseball and softball. This gives the XL greater stability. The feet are also capped with rubber instead of plastic, giving them more grip.
The XL can pitch balls up to 80 mph and is great for the backyard or for High Schools and Colleges. The extra stability the XL provides increases the life span and guarantees that this machine will be with you for a long time.
FIRST PITCH CURVEBALL
The First Pitch Curveball pitching machine is the cream-of-the-crop of First Pitch machines. Besides handling all the various pitches that the other three machines can handle, the Curveball is First Pitch’s only two-wheel pitching machine, which means it can throw curveballs, sliders, knuckleballs, fastballs, tailing fastballs and sidearm curves. Just adjust the wheel speeds individually and throw any kind of ball you want.
The Curveball machine is also faster than any other First Pitch pitching machine – this baby will scream up to 105 mph. First Pitch is exceptionally proud of this model, claiming that it is the best double wheel pitching machine on the market today. They might just be right.