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Ball Cannon

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A lot of sports involve striking a ball that is moving at high speed. To allow people to practice, many of these sports have machines designed to launch balls at a player: bowling machines for cricket, pitching machines for baseball and softball, tennis ball servers for tennis, etc.

Given these machines are essentially miniature cannons designed to launch projectiles. It's not surprising that, in fiction at least, these devices can and have been weaponized then used either with lethal intent or at least cause distractions or subdue people. And sometimes depending on the type of machine, their projectiles can be replaced with something else. In certain cases they are even uses a a form of non-lethal (mostly) Sentry Gun.

Related to I Know Madden Kombat and Weaponized Ball.


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    Comic Books 
  • Green Arrow foe the Pinball Wizard carries mechanisms (based on the launchers used in pinball machines) that shoot a stream of ball bearings.These are metallic spheres similar to those used in pinballs.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Babadook, Sam constructs a cricket ball launcher as one of his weapons to fight the monsters. The first time he uses it, he smashes a window, and the second time he hits Amelia in the head.
  • In The Catcher, a killer commits several murders using baseball themed methods. Coach Foster is strung up in the batting cages and shot to death with a pitching machine.
  • In Fantasy Island (2020), J.D. and Brax use a pitching machine to fire a grenade into the ocean for no other reason than that they can. Later, Brax activates the pitching machine and it fires a ball that distracts Devil Face long enough for him to make a break for the armoury.
  • Hudson Hawk. During the movie, the Mayflowers' evil dog Bunny performs a Groin Attack on Hudson Hawk and bites the neck of Hawk's girlfriend Anna Baragli. Eddie eventually gets his revenge, using a tennis ball launching machine to fire a ball at Bunny and knock her out a window and over a cliff to a Disney Villain Death.
  • The Hero of the bloodsport Rollerball (1975) invokes this as retribution for the on-track killing of his best friend. Jonathan beats the killer nearly senseless, then drags the inert fellow onto the track so that his head rests in the launching lane. Moments later, a fresh steel ball is fired from the game cannon, obliterating the victim's head. No foul is called for this, of course.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Gauntlet game from American Gladiators has the contestants attempt to defeat the muscular gladiator while being shot at with a ball cannon. Even a glancing strike from a tennis ball counted as a One-Hit Kill on the contestant.
  • Castle: In "Suicide Squeeze," a well-known Cuban baseball player is found dead of a wound to the head with an automatic pitching machine still throwing balls at him.
  • CSI: NY: In "Buzzkill," a man attacks attacks a group of models doing a live billboard display with a tennis ball launcher. The balls injure several of the models, and one of them smashes a neon sign and drops a live wire into the oversize glass a model is frolicking in. This would have electrocuted her, except she had already been poisoned.
  • Hardball: In "Too Many Cooks," one of Salwa's techniques for training Mikey in handball is to stand him in from of a tennis ball machine and launching tennis balls at him for him to block: gradually increasing the speed until he is being belted by them. Jerry eventually intervenes by unplugging the machine.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "Last Man Out," the first Victim of the Week is killed by being tied in the cricket nets in front of a bowling machine, which is then used to bowl twenty cricket balls at him at high speed and batter him to death.
  • A sketch on The Paul Hogan Show had an assassin killing prominent Australian sports stars. Tennis player John Newcombe was murdered by pouring sugar into his tennis ball server while he was practising. The machine went berserk and unleashed a barrage of balls that killed him.
  • Scream Queens (2015): In "Drain the Swamp," one of the Green Meanies attempts to murder the Chanels with a pitching machine. This is not effective, and only succeeds in injuring one of the Chanels.
  • Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators: In "This Envious Court," Frank and Lou chase the villain across a tennis court. The villain grabs a tennis ball launcher and fires it at them: firing balls at 90 mph.
  • The game Bridge Ball in Takeshi's Castle features contestants trying to cross a very narrow, very wobbly bridge, while the guards fire balls at them.
  • The Disney TV movie Walt Disney Presents The BRAT Patrol features a tennis ball launcher used as a "weapon" to annoy people. See it here.

    Video Games 
  • The Tennis Ball Launcher is a weapon in Dead Rising 2: Off the Record. When combined with motor oil it creates the combo weapon Molten Cannon. When combined with a saw blade it creates the combo weapon saw launcher.
  • The first case in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc ends with the killer (Leon Kuwata) executed by being chained to a post and shot to death by a baseball pitching machine.
  • One of the types of traps in Fallout 3 is a pitching machine which fires baseballs at you if you set off a tripwire, although it doesn't do enough damage to actually kill you unless your HP is very low to start with.
  • Get Amped: The "MVP Slugger" gear will enable baseball-based attacks for your character; one of its skills is setting down a baseball launcher that can damage enemies (and set them on fire) if they get hit by the balls. It's also possible for you to bat the launched ball at enemies for greater damage.
  • Pitching Machines are a category of weapons in Let It Die. Pitching Machines are a one-handed ranged weapon with a bit of ramp-up time in exchange for massive damage potential.
  • The Dude in Sunset Overdrive is a homemade gun that launches bowling balls that can take out multiple enemies at once. The weapon needs to be charged with every use, and it is ineffective against aerial enemies because the bowling balls only travel on the ground. One of the deployable defenses is "Siegfried the Great", a mannequin with a tennis ball launcher that upgrades as it kills more people to the point that it becomes a tennis ball Gatling Gun.

    Western Animation 
  • A variation of this trope appears in G.I. Joe: Renegades, when the Joes are stuck inside of a supermarket being accosted by Major Bludd and his Bio-Vipers, they decide to use some of the market's supplies to fight. With Roadblock weaponzing a tennis ball pitching machine to launch a small butane tank and Duke using a compound bow with a lit arrow to make it explode.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: In "Badger Pride", the other penguins uses a tennis ball launcher as an artillery piece to blast Private and Marlene out of the zoo and into the park. Later, Private uses it to bombard the badgers, and accidentally hits Marlene again.
  • The Tom and Jerry cartoon "Tennis Chumps" has the opponents Tom and Butch form an alliance against the subversive mouse, Jerry. One of Jerry's defenses is to activate a tennis ball cannon and set it on high, whereupon it buffets Tom repeatedly in the face.