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Villa Park

Little League

Villa Park Little League

Blue Flame Pitching Machine

The Louisville Slugger Blue Flame Pitching Machine (UPM45) is used in the Single A and Rookie divisions and also in the year-end District 30 Machine Pitch Tournament (ages 6-10). The manual (no electricity) pitching machine can consistently throw strikes at speeds of 18 to 45 mph with easy to adjust speed controls. Selected pitching speeds vary based on level of play. 

Operation Guidelines

Place the Power Spring in the desired Speed Hole on the Power Lever. (For information on adjusting the speed see below.)

Once you have chosen the desired speed setting, cock back the Throwing Arm.

Lock the Throwing Arm in place with the Block on the Release Lever.

Before placing the ball on the Throwing Arm, double check to make sure all people are clear of the Throwing Arm, and clear of the flight path that the ball will be taking. Once it is determined to be safe, place the ball on the Throwing Arm and resting against the Micro Adjustment Screw.

Hold on to the Release Lever with one hand while you push the Power Lever with your foot all the way down until it makes contact with base of the machine. NOTE: MAKE SURE YOUR FOOT IS HOLDING DOWN THE POWER LEVER UNTIL THE THROWING ARM HAS COMPLETELY STOPPED MOVING.

Pull back on the Release Lever to Pitch the ball.

On certain types of surfaces you may find it beneficial to turn the rubber end cap on the rear portion of the machine upside down in order to remove any play in the rear portion of the pitching machine.

Pitching Machine Adjustments:

  • SPEED: To determine the desired speed that you want the ball to be set the Power Spring on the appropriate hole on the Power Lever. The hole closest to home plate is the slowest setting, and the hole closest to the operator is the fastest setting.
  • HEIGHT: There are two ways to raise and lower the pitch that can be used in conjunction with each other.
    • RELEASE LEVER HEIGHT ADJUSTMENT: The Block on the Release Lever can be moved up or down the shaft of the lever to raise and lower the flight of the ball. The lower down the shaft that you place the Block, the higher the pitch will be.
    • MICRO-ADJUSTMENT: This piece  is  located  in the "V" of the Throwing Arm and is designed to fine tune your pitches by making small changes in the height of the ball's flight path. The lower down the "V" that the Micro-Adjust Block sits, the lower the flight path of the ball will be.(lllustration 10) For fine tuning, simply screw the Micro-Adjust Screw clockwise for lowering the ball, or counterclockwise for raising the flight of the ball. Sometimes it only takes a quarter or half turn of the Micro-Adjustment screw to move the flight of the ball 6-10 inches.

Here are the official Blue Flame Instructions.

Louisville Slugger Blue Flame Pitching Machine Tips

  • Pull the release SLOWLY (don't yank it).
  • The release should be consistent each time. As you get tired/bored etc you have a tendency to "jerk" your arm back to release the ball.
  • Ball orientation: Orient the ball the same way, with the Little League logo facing up, in the tray each time. This simulates a two-seam fastball. Any other orientation will cause sinkers etc. This is the first adjustment that should be made before making any micro or power adjustments.
  • All it takes are small half inch left or right taps on the rear leg to make 6 inch to one foot horizontal adjustments at home plate.
  • Make sure you use the included dirt spikes to anchor the front, without them, it will spray balls all over.
  • Keep your foot on the power lever until the throwing arm has completely stopped moving.
  • Simulate a pitch by holding your arm in the air and bring your arm down right before the lever to release the ball.

This video demonstrates how to setup and adjust the pitching machine plus orient the ball.

Blue Flame Diagram