by Sean Giggy
ANTIGO (WAOW) - Stuck in a 4-for-20 slump earlier this season, Corey Hart decided to switch bats and after trading his lumber, he hit three straight home runs, including his first ever walk off long ball
And the bat Hart switched to is a rockbat, made right here in central Wisconsin at Zelazoski Wood Products in Antigo.
"I've started getting hits and it's one of those things, I kinda got comfortable with it and there's no reason to change," Hart said. "Those other bats weren't working and those guys obviously make a good bat and it seemed to work for me."
Hart's hot-hitting hasn't gone unnoticed. He earned a spot in Monday's home run derby, crushing 13 home runs in the opening round of competition.
"It's just really exciting to see that he did that," said Ben Zelazoski, president of Zelazoski Wood Products. "The way he was cranking out those first ones, it made us proud. It really did."
The Rockbats that Zelazoski makes are crafted from Maple, rather than the traditional Ash bats and are less susceptible to breaking, one of the reasons the Antigo company started making baseball bats
"They had an independent bunch of scientists check out these bats and find out why they were breaking," Zelazoski said. "Well, one of them was that it was a bad slope of grain, which means the grain runs at an angle rather than straight."
Zelazoski says you need good wood to make a good bat and as you can see from this piece of maple, the ink goes with the slope of the grain, indicating that this will make a good bat.
"What we do is go through every bat, we look for a straight grain this way as well as straight grain this way, so we're looking at the bat overall and not just one little spot," Zelazoski added.
Zelazoski said they're trying to spread the word about their bats throughout the Major Leagues, but for now Corey Hart's improvements at the plate have shown just how good a Rockbat can be.
Reporting from Antigo, Sean Giggy, Newsline 9 Sports
Online Reporter - Sean Giggy