2014-01-23 / Local & State

Local Man’s Electronic Home Plate Gets Best Of Show

One of 12 awarded by Collegiate Baseball
B. Lou Pavlovich Jr.
& John Pinkman

Inventor Jerry Spessard poses with his Eagle Eye Electronic Homeplate design in Hagerstown, Md., which he plans to manufacture in nearby Hancock. Inventor Jerry Spessard poses with his Eagle Eye Electronic Homeplate design in Hagerstown, Md., which he plans to manufacture in nearby Hancock. DALLAS, Texas – Twelve innovative products at the recent American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Convention were awarded Best of Show certificates by Collegiate Baseball.

A record 71 nominations were received by Collegiate Baseball for the Best of Show contest that showcases the top new baseball products of 2013.

One of the winners as chosen by Collegiate Baseball’s Best of Show selection committee is the Eagle Eye Electronic Home Plate.

Never in history has there been an affordable electronic strike zone until now.

Jerry Spessard, who resides in southern Fulton County, Pa., along with two faculty members at the University of Maryland, has come up with the Eagle Eye Electronic Home Plate that can accurately determine strikes.

It ultimately took five years to develop it. After three years, Spessard needed to solve the high and low strike zone factor. He found help at the University of Maryland with Dr. Chris Davis, a professor highly skilled in optics. He also enlisted the help of Dr. John Rzasa, a post-graduate student, who immediately knew how to solve the recognition of the vertical strike zone. With a grant from the Maryland Industrial Partnerships program, they helped Spessard design, build and test the Eagle Eye Electronic Home Plate.

By using various electronic components, the electronic home plate can determine the speed of the pitch, pitch counts and operates by a smartphone, iPad, notebook or other similar electronic device. Each batter has the bottom of his strike zone measured as well as the top of the zone.

The built-in computer stores data for review and comparisons and will provide real time display of location and pitch speed and gives a printable pitch location and speed map.

It also measures the hitter’s bat speed and whether a swing was checked or not.

Not only will hitters be helped by this device. But pitchers can improve by allowing the coach to review the pitch immediately and then having the pitcher make adjustments before throwing the next offering.

In addition, the Eagle Eye can record pitches outside the strike zone.

The home plate can also be used as a scouting tool for college coaches and pro scouts since it is portable and can be carried to a site where a pitcher is working in the bullpen. The product has the potential of being a great tool for training umpires as well.

The Eagle Eye is probably more of a training tool than an instrument to put at home plate for games at this point with the abuse home plate gets during a season.

But it is a welcome addition to baseball that will help with the development of hitters and pitchers.

The cost is $2,500. Plus, there are several add-ons such as a carrying case, docking station for recharging batteries, etc.

The 70th ABCA Convention in Dallas, which featured 300 exhibitors that showed their wares over two huge halls that were larger than a football field, excited coaches with the number of new and progressive products.

For more information about the Eagle Eye visit www.eagleeyehomeplate.com.

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