New pitching machine helping out UMPI baseball and softball teams

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PRESQUE ISLE, Me (WAGM) - The University of Maine at Presque Isle recently purchased a new pitching machine and batting practice will look a lot different for the baseball and softball teams.

"I've never experienced that. It was a little hard to get used to, but now that we're on it it's really good practice for us," said junior Nicole Marucci.

This is the new video pitching machine over at UMPI. The machine can be used for both the baseball and softball teams and has a variety of settings to help hitters.

"It's going to be such an awesome tool for us to be able to see pitchers throwing different velocities from both sides of the rubber. We have one left handed pitcher in our practices and we don't see enough left handed off speed stuff or pitches in our practices. We're using it as a tool to get our kids better and see more live pitching," said UMPI baseball coach Mike Pankow.

"It's a huge help for us because not many colleges or universities have that kind of machine. So from the Northeast you have to be able to hit and be able to hit well to compete, especially on our Southern trips. We'll see how it works out this year, but I think we'll feel pretty comfortable," added UMPI softball coach Sara Shaw.

Both teams say having this piece of equipment makes practices more efficient.

"We're able to work on off-speed pitches that we normally don't get to see at practice. When we do live pitching off our hitters it just dominates our practice time and makes our practices very inefficient. Now with this machine we can send a group upstairs and to work on this machine and it takes the need for live pitching out of our practice," Pankow explained.

"We don't get to see live pitching in practice that often unless we use me. Which thankfully that saves me now," added junior Sara Packard.

The school is thinking about letting local teams and players use the machine at a cost. Junior Matt Curry grew up in Caribou and thinks this will be great for local athletes.

"It definitely would have helped with my progression as far as transition periods between middle school and high school and high school to college. It's definitely a step up for the youth in the area," Curry said.