'Think of it like a catapult': Hartland robotics team using robot for Brewers first pitch

NOW: ’Think of it like a catapult’: Hartland robotics team using robot for Brewers first pitch

HARTLAND, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch is a big honor in the world of baseball. For the Knack 9956 robotics team in Hartland, they're confident their first pitch will be a strike.

"Me and the robot are going to be out there and we're going to launch the ball. Hope it goes well," said Jessica Becker, a junior at Arrowhead High School and experienced member of the team. "I'm pretty confident it's going to go well."

The 'teammate' throwing out the first pitch ahead of Friday night's Brewer game will be 'Stitch,' a roughly three-foot tall robot created back in 2018. This year's team has revamped the creation and are looking forward to using it to bring awareness to STEM and First Tech Challenge, a robotics competition that the team won on the State level in 2023 and took second at Nationals.

"We all have a love for STEM and love bringing it to our community," Becker said. "We come together, we build robots throughout the season, we meet new people and do new, fun things."

"Stitch is pretty, from all the robots we build, it's a pretty straight-forward robot," explained Pack Davis, a junior at AHS. "Think of it like a catapult."

Not only does the program allow the students to be creative and compete against competitors from around the state and the world, it helps prepare them for the future with real-life experiences.

"It's not only building robots, it is this outreach, so they have public speaking, they're put in front of a panel of judges to explain their work and be questioned about their theories and their programming," said Kathy Becker, one of the team's coaches. "It's also a business plan. They have to maintain a budget and do some fundraising and reach out to the community."

Becker joined the team as a coach after her daughter took an interest. Admitting she had little knowledge when it comes to the world mechanical engineering, she's tackled the challenge head on and is proud of the work her daughter and friends have put into the project.

"I'm so proud of them. They work so well together, different personalities, but they compromise, they problem solve and it really is a full team effort," Becker said. "They're outstanding kids. There isn't one that I wouldn't do anything for."

Following Friday night's first pitch, the team will be in the concourse showing off 'Stitch' and sharing more information about the FTC and robotics competition, hopeful others will be inspired to join.

"I think it's really cool that like, we can make that kind of impact younger kids and get them interested in this as well," Davis said. "It's been a lot of fun, love the program. I would suggest it to anyone who kind of wants to go into the engineering field."

For more information about the Knack 9956 team, visit the website by clicking here.

Share this article: