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Granada Pitching Machine Changes Baseball

Frustrated because his Granada Hills Little League team in Southern California had trouble hitting a baseball, coach Norm Bruce invented “a little machine to throw plastic balls.”

Using the machine, the youngsters progressed quickly as they lost their fear of being hit by hardballs.  Bruce soon had a machine in his backyard that the boys could use as long as they took turns and left by 10 p.m.  An added plus was the lightweight balls wouldn’t sail over the neighbor’s fence or break windows.

Bruce was a house builder by trade and by 1963 had moved his family from Southern California to Central Point, Ore.  A recession hit and houses weren’t selling, so Bruce thought back to his pitching machine and contacted baseball coaches around the nation.  After Bruce met them and demonstrated his invention, he quickly sold 18 of the bright orange machines to baseball teams of all levels. 

Now, 50 years later, Bruce is a hero to youth and college baseball.  For decades, nearly 90 percent of the college national champion teams have used Granada machines.  Internationally, thousands of baseball teams across the world practice with them. 

Sources:  "Collegiate Baseball." Batting Practice for the Serious Ballplayer. Granada , 2004. Web. 3 Apr. 2016. http://www.battingpractice.com/history.htm ;  "Machine Pitching Plastic Helps Hitters." The Daily Record 13 June 1987 [Ellensburg, WA] : 11. Web. 3 Apr. 2016. .

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.