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There is an entire market of portable pitching mounds. The upkeep of a real mound, or city fields where softball is also played, make them an attractive option for field managers. We spent some time at the ABCA convention checking out the best portable mounds the market has to offer. After speaking with a few coaches, as well as collegiate pitchers who need portable pitching mounds to succeed, we would choose the 308 or 202 series from True Pitch, Inc. If we were willing to spend a lot more, we would go with the Athalonz RFP portable game mound.
|1||Little League||True Pitch||202-8 or 202-6||$$$|
We reference a few different spots in this article. Athalonz, who makes the high end mounds with real clay built into them, has a catalog that can be found on their site here. You can buy the mounds directly on their site, or they sell through Amazon, too.
There are three aspects to a good portable mound. Each seem obvious enough, but as we have had more than a little experience with these in game, it is surprising to see how many fail.
To save a few dollars, and sometimes a few dozen dollars, many fields use a practice or bull pen portable pitching mound in game. Attracted by the price, these fields put players in serious danger. Practice or Bull Pen mounds are mounds which are 3 to 4 feet wide by 5 to 8 feet long. From the top view they look like a rectangle and from the side they look like a wedge. These work okay enough in the cage or pen. But, expecting a pitcher at any level to also play baseball off of this mound is thoughtlessly dangerous. It is a shame to see so many leagues use these terrible mounds.
A great portable game mound will replicate the hill of a real mound. This means the top down view will be some type of oval or circle shape. The smoother that transition into the field of play, the better. The best portable pitching mounds replicate the real slope of a real field.
In a competitive market, there is a direct correlation between the amount of money a portable mound costs and how durable it is. Expect cheaper wood bases and non weather proof faux-grass covers to be less expensive. Structures made of treated fiberglass and weather proofed astro turf covers are more expensive.
If you expect the mound to be exposed to elements like rain in addition to the pounding it will naturally take, then a more durable mound will be better. Additionally, if your intent is to use this mound for years to come, then a more expensive mound is a sound financial investment.
At the risk of stating the obvious, the best portable game mounds replicate a real pitching mound on a real field, while having the feature of portability. It should give the pitcher every chance to succeed and never draw any attention to itself in terms of getting in the way of the game. That includes a stretch or windup routine that isn’t adjusted per the mound’s issues or being able to field a routine ground ball without performing feats of death defying balance.
In terms of sizing and durability, our favorite game pitching mound for sub-High School ages is the TruePitch’s 202 series. It comes in either a 6 inch or 8 inch high version. These fit well on any field, have a great transition to the field of play and use a reinforced fiberglass with weather proof AstroTurf.
These are the only portable mounds approved for Little League play, and there are reasons for this. Not only is this the original portable mound company, their mounds also replicate the playable nature of a normal mound, making the field safe for players of all ages.
If you need a high school or collegiate regulation portable mound (10 inches off the ground), we suggest the 308 from the same company. This is a full-on 18 foot circle made of reinforced fiberglass that can take a beating. It plays like a real mound, and as you can see from the above picture, looks like one, too.
Athalonz Portable Mounds creates the durability and sizing we should require from a portable game mound, but they also have a touch of realism that no one else captures. In particular, they use a proprietary substance around the mound rubber and front foot landing spot that replicates the clay experience. In fact, it is real infield clay, not a replication. But, combined with some proprietary technique, the clay doesn’t dust up or degenerate and still responds correctly to metal cleats. It is the only portable mound we know of where metal cleats are allowed.
Another worthy feature worth mentioning is the fact that these mounds are sectionals. Meaning, they are taken apart in sections. This makes transport and their general portability a little more feasible. Clever, we thought.
These mounds are not inexpensive, and price, we would guess, will be the greatest inhibitor to people pulling the trigger. But, if the budget is there, pitching from one of these is an exciting prospect.
Search on Amazon. Check their Website.