No matter which type of softball league you choose to play in, the type of bat you choose will ultimately depend on your personal preference. Thanks to new technology, softball bats are now able to be tailored to your individual strengths. The key is to find that bat that will help you take your game to a new level.
With over 3 million players, and over 200,000 teams the Amateur Softball Association (or ASA for short) is the most common governing body that you’ll need to ensure your bat is approved for. You may be wondering how a piece of equipment is determined to meet ASA standards. The nice thing about this association is that they take great pride in protecting the game and ensuring its integrity is always met. By using a committee representing different players, coaches, and umpires, new pieces of equipment are constantly tested and analyzed to ensure that the aforementioned integrity is kept.
So what are the biggest differences when it comes to ASA bats in comparison to others? One of the main differences is what is called the Batted Ball Speed (or BBS for short) which is a measure of how quickly the ball will leave the bat and how quick it would look to a player on the field. For a bat to be ASA-approved it must meet the 98 mph standard. Other leagues like the USSSA allow for a quicker BBS of 100 mph.
Now that you know the main things to look out for, let’s look at the hottest ASA bats for 2017.
Easton Salvo Scandium
The first model that we believe would benefit players in an ASA league is the Easton Salvo Scandium which is currently priced at under $200 making it quite an affordable option for slowpitch players.
The Salvo Scandium could very well be designated as a power hitters dream due to its construction and the pop it can produce. Constructed using Easton’s own THT100 Scandium alloy, the bat promises to be light yet still remain easy to control. The THT100 material is used for the entire bat (i.e. 1-piece) which is typically a characteristic that a power hitter looks for as the bat will feel more rigid and provide less forgiveness when making good solid contact. Lastly, the alloy promises to also provide a great level of durability allowing you to use it for numerous seasons without cracking or needing a new model. However if that does happen you still have a 1-year warranty period to take advantage of.
Another important feature that power hitters often look for is a nice fluid but heavier feeling swing weight. Although the heaviness may slow down the swing slightly, the extra power provided may just be the difference between hitting to the warning track or over the fence. The Salvo Scandium features an end loaded swing meaning that your swings would generate more distance when hit properly. The Salvo Scandium also has various levels of end load. For instance the 26oz model comes with 1 ounce of end load, while the 28oz model comes with 3 full ounces of end load for even more power. So depending on your strength, this model should give you plenty of distance and pop.
The final feature that we will highlight on this page is the use of gauze batting grip. One of the worst feeling as a hitter no matter how good the bat may be is to not have a nice firm and comfortable grip on the handle. After all having an uncomfortable grip may not just be a deterrent to your game but could also cause injuries. This gauze grip should be sticky enough to allow for very little slipping during your swing so you can feel comfortable while knocking softballs all over the field.
The next bat on our ASA list, the Louisville Z4, coincidentally made it on our list of the top slowpitch bats of 2017 list as well. And for good reason. Many players who have reviewed this model on various sites have indicated that it feels very hot and helps in hitting bombs all over the field. Although this is the first year for the Z4, it has been around in other years as the Z-1000, Z-2000, and Z-3000. Each time they upgrade, it seems to keep getting better and better!
Most hitters have heard of 1 and 2-piece bats where a 1-piece is built using a single material while a 2-piece is constructed using two different materials that are molded together. The Z4 is quite neat with this respect as they have taken this a bit further by building a 3-piece bat. So how does this work? Basically, both the barrel and handle are constructed with Louisville’s own Pure 360 composite. Instead of blending this together to make a 1-piece bat, the Z4 has a TRU3 piece inserted in between. Louisville believes this will send more energy to the barrel (and therefore increasing distance), and reduce bat sting and vibrations.
The Z4 also features a balanced swing which is perfect for contact hitters. Balance swinging bats provide a consistent speed and feeling as opposed to their end loaded counterparts that are built a bit heavier in order to drive hits further.
One of the next greatest features included in the 2016 version of the Z4 is a “Grit Blast Finish” which has been applied to the barrel. This extra finish provides more spin on the ball allowing you to drop hits into areas where no fielders are waiting. This finish also should provide you with stronger hits that have greater distance and travel quicker off the bat.
As a contact hitter, there is a lot to like about this model!
Miken Psycho Maxload
If you are looking for some serious power then the Miken Psycho Maxload might be exactly what you are after. Fully approved for play in ASA leagues, this model has been also upgraded with some newer features for the 2017 season. In past years this has been one of the hottest bats and I do not expect this year to be any different!
So what makes the Psycho Maxload a power hitter’s best friend (besides the name)? Here are some of the features we feel will benefit a power hitter:
- One piece bat – many homerun hitters prefer the strength and rigidness provided by a one-piece bat. The Miken Psycho 100COMP certified meaning that it has been built using premium material which in turn gives this model better performance and durability. You can see more about this technology by checking out this video from Youtube.
- 750X HPI – More than likely your first reaction to this feature is “Huh”? The 750X HPI technology was developed by Miken and has been used in many of their bats. Basically a strong resin is injected inside the bat under a high pressure mechanism. This probably sounds quite complicated and it is for me to but according to the bats specifications this technology should further enhance the power and durability in the bat.
- End loaded swing – Although the first two features were probably enough to convince you that this bat is built for crushing homers, there is one additional feature to note – the extra half ounce of weight added to the bottom of the barrel. Although end loaded bats tend to feel a bit heavier to swing when you make nice solid contact in your wheel house, you’ll quickly see the little extra pop it’ll provide.
Other than the features above designed more for power hitters, there are a few additional benefits including the comfortable handle, the great brand name backing, and perhaps most importantly…the price. As you are very well aware, there are many softball bats that can cost upwards of $400. At just over $200 – the Miken Psycho Maxload may be a bargain for some.
Demarini The One OG
We just couldn’t make a “best ASA bats” list without including a model made by Demarini who many feel is the best company around for bats. This year, we are expecting that the Demarini ONE OG will be a top seller for ASA leagues largely due to the fact that the model from last year was quite popular and from the specification sheets it looks like the model has been improved.
One of the main reasons for this models popularity is that it is more of a balanced bat meaning that it will help both contact (or gap), and homerun hitters. This is primarily due to the high performance 13 inch 4.One composite barrel. The 4.One material has been used on quite a few Demarini bats over the past couple of years and continues to be a favorite as it has been known to provide quite a bit of pop.
One item that is a bit newer is the ZnX alloy handle that has been applied to the OG. This handle combines both of zinc and aluminum material to create a handle that should provide more durability and feel stiffer on the swing. This stiffness and resistance is what power hitters tend to look for as they’ll experience a better energy transfer right to the softball. So in simplified terms, when you make proper contact, a softball should have a tough time staying in the park! Although many players believe that 2-piece bats have less power than 1-piece models, based on everything we have read about the ONE OG, there could be tremendous power potential in this one.
Although we are looking at ASA specific bats on this page, it should be noted that this bat can be used in other popular associations as well. So if you have a sibling, or play in different leagues that have different standards then you can take full advantage of this model.
Well there you have it. We feel that we have outline the top four softball bat options available for softball players who need an ASA approved bat this summer. If you feel we’ve missed any or know of another model that we should highlight then please let us know. Thanks for stopping by!