Fastpitch Softball Bats – Making the Best Choice

Slow Pitch Softball BatWhat are the best fastpitch softball bats? How long should the bat be? Is my bat too heavy or too light? These and other questions that might pop into your head are the key to finding your ideal bat is choosing the perfect size and weight that suits your game.

Let’s start with some basic technical information

Fastpitch bats are generally 26 to 32 inches in length for younger players. High school or older players normally use fast pitch bats that are 30 to 34 inches long and have a drop weight value, ranging from 8 to -13.

The term drop weight value may sound complicated but it’s really very simple. The drop weight value of a bat indicates the length to weight ratio. This concept is not difficult to understand. All you have to do is weigh your bat and then subtract the length to get the number. For example: Let’s say your fastpitch softball bat weighs 24 ounces and is 34 inches long, its drop weight will then be 24-34, which equals -10.

Fastpitch softball bats are made of aluminum as well as composite materials. As for aluminum, or alloy bats, most are made from aircraft grade aluminum and variations in the alloy formula resulting in stronger alloy, has allowed manufacturers to design bats with thinner walls, hence lighter weight. Thin walls also contribute to rebound, or the “trampoline” effect when the bat strikes the ball. This effect enhances the power, thus, the distance, given the same swing speed.

These stronger or advanced alloys are marketed under different brand names by different manufacturers like Easton, DeMarini, Miken and Rip-It to name a few.  You can be sure if a bat is made of advanced alloy, it will be called out by the manufacturer somewhere on the bat or in the specs. On the other hand, bats -11 or lighter that don’t state the type of alloy used will probably be made of an alloy too weak to support the thinner wall. Beware of these bats. They can be easily dented, even in warm weather and even unsafe. Beyond standard aircraft aluminum, there are many good grades of alloy that determine strength and durability.

Composite bats consist of glass, carbon and Kevlar fibers molded together. They are designed to a different strength and stiffness than aluminum or wood bats.  There may be some great wood fastpitch softball bats out there, but you should probably go with alloy or composite over wood because wood typically doesn’t have as much pop as alloy or composite. Both alloy and composite bats are hollow which results in the barrel “squishing” during impact with the ball, or what is known as the trampoline effect. The barrel acts as a spring, storing some of the energy, which would otherwise have gone into compressing the ball. As the bat barrel expands it returns most of its stored energy to the ball and the resulting ball speed can be significantly higher than it would have been for a wood bat, which does not have a trampoline effect.

Is my bat of choice certified

Most bats come with an ASA stamp, which shows that they are certified for league play. Moreover, ASA stamped bats are acceptable in almost all leagues. There are a number of different sanction leagues such as ASA, NSA, ISA and USSSA and your bat needs to fulfill their rules before you can  play in their league with your bat.

Believe it or not, most beginners pick a fastpitch bat because of its color. Just because a bat matches your uniform or is your favorite color, doesn’t mean it is the best for you. So, choose a fastpitch softball bat based on performance to play your best game.

The worst mistake is to choose the same bat that your teammates prefer. Just because every other player on your team is swinging that bat, it doesn’t mean it is the right one for you. You should try a few bats and then select one that is best in your hands.  Don’t jump to conclusions; take your time, try out a few choices, after all no one else is as concerned about your game as you are.

Another thing to avoid at all costs is choosing a bat that’s too heavy. You cannot swing a too heavy bat “quick and fast”.  It will slow your swing down and you may even hurt yourself.

So, remember these simple three points when choosing fastpitch bats:

1) Not too heavy – pick the right weight for your swing

2) Not everybody else’s bat – don’t be an “accidental” hitter

3) Performance over color – even if it clashes!

If you keep these little things in mind, you’ll pick a fastpitch bat that performs the best for your game and results in a higher batting average.   Call us at Cheapbats and we will help you pick out the perfect fastpitch baseball bat!


Baseball Bats Evolution – From Simple to High Tech

Baseball Bats EvolutionBaseball bats date back to the days of Rounders and of course, Town ball. Town ball is one of the oldest games from which the current “national game” of baseball evolved as early as the late 18th century. The ball was hit by a four-inch flat bat with a tapered handle that could be firmly gripped for control and leverage. By the mid-1800’s numerous changes in all aspects of the game had been made and the players were each responsible for selecting baseball bats for themselves.

One of the first baseball games played was in June of 1846 in Hoboken New Jersey included 9 innings, 9 players on each team, and 3 outs per side. However, because players made their own bats, many different styles and sizes were used. Right around this time wagon tongue wood was predominately used and players were realizing that a round bat hit a ball much more solidly. The first bat limitation was voted on until 1859 when bat size was determined to be no larger than 2 ½ inches in diameter.  From there the baseball bat length rule was adopted in 1869 (no more than 42 inches) and over the next century and a half the baseball bat has been reshaped, reconstructed, restricted and recertified (see BBCOR video).

Today there are big differences between a softball bat and a baseball bat. Should you use a softball bat to play baseball, or a baseball bat to play softball?

The most obvious difference between  youth batssoftball bats, and baseball bats is length. 

The length of the bat used for adult baseball, adult slow-pitch softball, and youth baseball/softball will vary in length:

–       Baseball – 33″

–       Softball – 34″

–       Youth – 30”

The next significant difference is the bat weight

The primary reason for the range of available weights is that the speed with which a player can swing a bat is often related to weight. However, not all bats that weigh the same swing the same.  This has to do with something called the moment-of-inertia which is the physics of a bat swing, taking into account the center-of-mass and the rotation of the bat which together strongly determine the bat swing speed.

Barrel diameters differ too

Bat profiles, or barrel diameters differ between baseball, softball and youth bats. The barrels of baseball bats are fatter than those of softball bats and can be up to 2.75”.  Adult softball bats (both slow- and fast-pitch) are narrower, with diameters of only 2-1/4″. Youth bats have the same diameter as adult slow-pitch bats.

Understanding the differences between bats, deciding on the right kind of bat and buying the right bat for yourself or your child might seem a daunting task if you are new to the game. One thing to keep in mind is at the youth level, there is no difference in bats for softball and baseball. Another thing is the right bat feels right so trust your gut.

However, at the adult level, baseball and softball bats are designed to match their respective games.  You could use a baseball bat to play softball, as long as you adjusted to the slightly shorter total length, and the heavier weight. The performance would be about the same as using an older lower performance softball bat.

Using a softball bat to play baseball would most likely result in cracking or breaking your bat. Softball bats are not designed to withstand the forces resulting from an impact with a baseball.

The same would be true of using a fast-pitch softball bat in a slow-pitch game; the performance might be really good and the ball might come off the bat faster, but you would most likely damage your fast-pitch bat.

You could use a slow-pitch bat in a fast-pitch softball game without damaging it but the larger weight (actually, larger moment-of-inertia) makes the slow-pitch bat more difficult to swing quickly and you would probably not hit as well.

You don’t want to make a bad decision and waste your money on a bat that doesn’t serve your purpose. There are so many different bats on the market so when making a buying choice consider:

–       Which ones are best for your style of play?

–       Is this one right for your league?

–       What makes THE one worth the price?

When it comes to selecting the right bat for your league, your style, your young athlete, Composite Bats can make the process simpler. Drop us a comment if we can help!

Best BBCOR Bats – Three Great Bats Reviewed

2012-Demarini-Vodoo-BBCOR-Bat-3By definition, BBCOR means baseball bat coefficient of restitution (COR). These bats are used mostly in high school and college baseball leagues and are made of aluminum. There are hundreds of BBCOR certified bats that will help you or your children “swing for the fences”. What are some of the best BBCOR bat options for you to look into?

Best BBCOR Bats

2012 Anderson Ignite

The Anderson Bat Company is one that is often forgotten or ignored in the bat manufacturing business. With this bat, users are getting a -3 oz. bat that is built to last a good while and produce hits at the same time. This bat is constructed using single wall technology with all metal alloy. It has a True Flex end cap and a taper flex contour with the weight of the bat being distributed better because it is closer to your hands. It has an ultra-thin handle, which allows you to get a firmer grip when swinging.

2013 Rip-It Prototype

One of the newer bat manufacturers on the scene today is also one of the most popular when it comes to their BBCOR bats. This bat was made of aluminum, R1 alloy to be exact, which is exclusive to the Rip-It brand. Its BBCOR barrel was made to have a larger sweet spot than traditional baseball bats and will help you get the ball farther than ever before. This model is one of the best BBCOR bats available today.

2012 Demarini Voodoo

When it comes to softball and baseball bats, Demarini is one of the most common names you will see at the ball fields. This model was made with a newer styled end cap and the Demarini exclusive, SC4 alloy. When they constructed the bat, they used taper ring technology that helps keep the weight closer to your body, which will allow you to swing for more power. When the bat is weighted more towards the end, your swing will lead to some power hits, but not as often as keeping the weight adjusted. It has a composite handle to go with the alloy barrel, which allows you to transfer the power through the ball.

Click here for more information on these and other best BBCOR bats.

Easton Mako BBCOR Bat Making A Splash In Omaha – College World Series News

After a weekend filled with great baseball, a lot of extra innings, and some weather issues presented by mother nature, two Easton teams have booked their tickets for Omaha and TD Ameritrade Park!

Big congratulations to the UCLA Bruins (3rd trip to Omaha in the last 4 years!) and to the Mississippi State Bulldogs (first trip to Omaha since 2007!).  Both teams faced a lot of adversity on their respective roads to Omaha, but both battled to earn their places in the Mecca of College Baseball.

I am also happy to report that the new Easton MAKO bats played a huge role in both teams success in their runs through the Super Regional round.

For the Bulldogs, 5 out of 9 starters have switched to the MAKO (along with 2 S1 and 2 XL3 bats).  Leadoff hitter Adam Frazier absolutely raked with his new MAKO.  Over the weekend he went 8-11, including a 6 for 6 performance on Saturday with a double, triple, and 3 runs batted in as the Bulldogs produced a season best 2o hits in route to an 11-6 victory!

The Bruins have also taken a liking to the latest Easton bat innovation.  During Saturday’s 3-0 Omaha clinching victory over Cal State Fullerton, 7 out of the 9 UCLA hitters swung the MAKO bat.  Pat Gallagher and Shane Zeile led the offense, each contributing RBI singles in the first inning that stood up for the win!

Easton Mako BBCOREaston Mako BBCOR BatEaston Team Winning

Easton Teases New Mako BBCOR Baseball Bat On FaceBook

The Easton Mako baseball bat was revealed on the Easton Baseball FaceBook page today. Showing just a glimpse of the knob, the 33″/30 ounce Mako BBCOR bat looks to be 100% composite with an orange and white paint job. No word on whether the Mako will replace the S1, or if the Mako will be an addition to the Easton BBCOR bat lineup. As of today we do not know what price point this bat will be sold at, but we are guessing a price point above the current S1 and XL1 BBCOR bat, which currently retail for $399. Expect more details towards the end of Summer, 2013.

Easton Mako Baseball Bat

Easton Mako Bat

Easton has made huge strides in the BBCOR bat market in the past two years with the success of their Power Brigade bats. Look for the new Easton Speed Brigade bats for 2014. Trying to get back on top, DeMarini released the new Vexxum NVS BBCOR, and so far sales of the 2014 Vexxum have exceeded expectation.

Bat Review: 2013 Rip It Prototype Air BBCOR

Rip It Prototype Air BBCOR Baseball BatThe 2013 Rip It Prototype Air BBCOR bat is their best this year.  The 2012 best bat from Rip It was the exceptional prototype 2.  Rip It continues to push the performance envelope even though they have not been in the market very long.

The newly introduced “Rip It Air” black bat with red lettering and gray accents is a sturdy bat and is all set to work. The feel awed me as soon as I picked it up. Four ounces were taken from the end and distributed all through the bat.  Rip It made the wall thinner at the business end of its Prototype Air BBCOR by channeling out grooves inside the barrel.

The Rip It Air has all the pop that was advertised. This bat has as much pop as anything else on the market, and I have tried all BBCOR bats. This bat pops all over, and it is one of the things that differentiate the Rip It Air from competitors.

It is a real ego builder in the batting cage.  Whether you hit the ball near the end or close to your hands, the ball flies off this baseball bat. Once you’ve square up the ball, you’ve sent out a challenge to the defense.

This bat is exceptionally well balanced when hitting the ball.  You can control the Rip It BBCOR all the way through the swing zone.  I was confident enough to hold on until the last moment and then drive the bat through the ball. Rip It has introduced a great hitting BBCOR bat to the market.

This bat feels and pops well, and the grip takes in the shock!  The little vibration in this single piece alloy bat really surprised me. It was fresh and enjoyable to use a bat that has hardly any vibration on badly hit balls. This innovative 2013 BBCOR from Rip It gives you all the features you could want on one the finest BBCOR bats for 2013.

The performance is the focus of Rip It! The excellent Rip It Prototype Air BBCOR is offered at the best price you will find.

2014 DeMarini CF6 BBCOR Bat

The DeMarini CF6 baseball bat is not out yet. We have heard rumors of late this year, but there are no details at all yet of what the bat is, or will be. But, we can sure make a good guess.

Our money is on a 2014 CF6 BBCOR that uses the all new Paradox Composite in both the handle and the barrel of the bat. This is what DeMarini did in the 2014 Fastpitch Softball bat lineup, and there is good reason to believe they will do the same in their baseball bats.

What is Paradox Composite? The new carbon fiber being used in high end Demarini bats for 2014 is both softer and harder. Doesn’t make sense? Let me explain… The way the engineers lay down the sheets of carbon fiber determines the final characteristics of the bat. So, in the barrel, they lay the material to be more flexible, and that allows for more elasticity and trampoline when the bat hits the baseball. In the handle, they lay the sheets down to form a stronger, stiffer feel, which keeps you from losing energy by making the bat “whip” too much (like a golf club).

We absolutely love the way the new Voodoo BBCOR and NVS BBCOR feel, so we are excited to see how the 2014 DeMarini CF6 performs on the baseball field. You can be sure we will have our bat review up as soon as we get our hands on one.

2014 DeMarini NVS BBCOR Review

The 2014 DeMarini NVS Vexxum, along with the 2014 DeMarini Voodoo, is one of the two entirely new BBCOR bats Demarini is releasing for 2014 (CF6 BBCOR coming in Summer or Fall).

We received a couple of the new, 2014 DeMarini BBCOR Bats to sample and demo so we could share with you. The new Demarini NVS is balanced like no other BBCOR bat I have ever swung. The feel, and the pop off the barrel of the bat is great, better than the previous Vexxum. What this review is going to be about is the extreme balance of the new DeMarini NVS BBCOR.

As most of you know, the BBCOR standard allows for the baseball to come off of the barrel of the bat at a certain speed and not a MPH faster. Companies like DeMarini have several bats that meet this performance standard right at the limit, but that is not all there is to it. A BBCOR bat really has to be the complete package. Every part of a BBCOR bat must come together to make the best bat possible, not just “pop”. What the new, 2014 DeMarini NVS does is combine the pop and performance with the absolute lightest feeling, most balanced BBCOR bat ever conceived. I mean, it is shockingly light.

The 2014 NVS is so light and balanced that I really liked it at first. It felt good and was easy to swing. I was hitting hard line drives all over the field, with the occasional deep shot into the gap. However, you begin to realize that with the NVS, if you don’t put a charge into your swing, the bat is so light that it does not exactly do as much of the work for you as say, the 2014 Voodoo BBCOR would because of the end load it has.

Take that last sentence with a grain of salt, though. I did not notice any lack of power at all until I had taken about 70 swings in a row on the NVS BBCOR, so I was getting tired. I put down the NVS and picked up the 2014 Voodoo to get a comparison of the two, and I noticed the Voodoo hit the ball harder in my tired state because of the heavier end load, all I had to do was put the Voodoo in motion and the bat took care of the rest.

The reason this does not matter is you are never going to go up to the plate as gassed as I was. I am only making the above point to show you the difference between the two 2014 DeMarini BBCOR bats, they are designed this way for a reason. If you are a power hitter, or a guy who hits for average, the 2014 DeMarini Voodoo is an excellent bat, and definitely outperforms the 2013 Voodoo. If you are a younger player, or a guy that hits line drives, the 2014 DeMarini NVS is probably the best BBCOR bat for 2014 for you due to the light feel.

Special thanks to CheapBats.com who let us use their batting cage facility and demo bats for this BBCOR bat review.

2014 DeMarini Voodoo BBCOR Review

Recently we had a chance to swing the new 2014 DeMarini BBCOR bats. There are currently two new 2014 BBCOR bats, the 2014 DeMarini Voodoo and the 2014 Vexxum NVS; a CF6 BBCOR will follow in August, 2013.

DeMarini made some major changes to their two best selling BBCOR bats for 2014 (See our 2014 Vexxum NVS Review). So this was a fun bat review to do because we got to swing brand new bats that are about to hit the fields. Starting with the new Voodoo minus 3 ounce has a new knob and new composite in the handle. The barrel uses the X10 alloy in the barrel like previous versions, but the ring inside the barrel is moved down closer to the taper to help balance the bat out a little more than earlier versions of the BBCOR Voodoo. The Paradox composite is stronger than the older C6 composite, and gives the bat a stiffer feel, while eliminating vibration.

First impressions of the 2014 Voodoo BBCOR the feel. The new bat is still end loaded, but not as end loaded, so more hitters will be comfortable with this bat in their hands than ever before.

There is a new design for the knob of the new Voodoo called the RCK KNOB (Really Cool Knob). They thought about what shape would be most comfortable up against your hands during a hard swing. Cone shaped is not the best word, but that is what it reminds me of. It is actually more in between a cone shape and a normal knob, but we know we like it. I expect other companies to copy this and try to make knobs a little smoother to give the batter added comfort.

There is absolutely no vibration with the 2014 Voodoo. The bat swings solid. There is enough mass in the barrel of the bat to drive the ball hard, even on weak swings at the end of batting practice, if you can get the bat around, the baseball will jump off the barrel feeling solid.

The grip feels great; not too thin, not too thick. The Voodoo is the real deal. The new composite really does make a difference where it counts. The new Voodoo feels more like a one piece bat than a half and half bat, but benefits from the half and half construction in the respect that there is no vibration, unlike many one piece bats.

I really think the 2014 Voodoo is much better than the 2013 version, and I have no doubt the the new Voodoo will be one of the best BBCOR bats for 2014.

2013 DeMarini BBCOR Bats 25% Off At Cheapbats.com

A tipster emailed us of this deal on the new 2013 Demarini BBCOR bats.

If you call CheapBats.com you can buy any of the new, 2013 DeMarini BBCOR Bats at 25% off retail pricing, and get free shipping.

Use coupon code: 1357 for 25% off the listed price.

As of today, the 25% off is working on the following 2013 Demarini BBCOR Bats

Link to bats on sale

2013 DeMarini CF5 BBCOR, 2013 DeMarini Voodoo BBCOR, 2013 Voodoo Limited BBCOR, 2013 DeMarini Vexxum BBCOR, 2013 DeMarini M2M, 2013 DeMarini Versus, 2013 DeMarini Vengeance

2013 Demarini BBCOR Bats

2013 DeMarinin BBCOR Bats on sale

What Is The Best BBCOR Baseball Bat For 2013?

We want to know what you think. What BBCOR Bat is best for 2013? Vote for up to three 2013 BBCOR bats.

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Marucci Elite BBCOR Bat – The New King of BBCOR Baseball Bats

The newest Marucci BBCOR bats is about to hit the baseball diamonds of America. A mass launch scheduled for January, 2013. The Marucci Elite BBCOR baseball bat is the latest BBCOR bat to come out of Marucci’s Baton Rouge, LA headquarters. The Elite BBCOR uses  and “aerospace grade composite material” in the handle and a combination of this same composite material and Marucci’s exclusive AZ3000 alloy in the bat barrel.

So, what we have here is a composite bat with mix of aluminum alloy and composite in the barrel of the baseball bat. That is essentially what the TPX Exogrid is from Louisville Slugger, except the Exogrid is almost entirely aluminum with a very small amount of composite inserts, where the Marucci Elite BBCOR is almost all composite with a little bit of aluminum.

Our initial hits on the Marucci Elite produced very good results. We very much liked the balance of the Elite, along with the pop, and the sound. While we did not get as much time with the Elite BBCOR as we wanted, we are sure this will be one of the best BBCOR bats for 2013.

Marucci Elite BBCOR Baseball Bat

Marucci Elite BBCOR Baseball Bat

Marucci Elite BBCOR Baseball Bat

Elite Marucci BBCOR Bat

Marucci Elite BBCOR Bat

Marucci Elite BBCOR Baseball Bat

 

Marucci Elite BBCOR Baseball Bat

Marucci Elite BBCOR Baseball Bat