Whether you play church league softball or professionally, finding a quality bat is extremely difficult. The right bat can add 20 to 30 feet to your best swings, all while improving your ability to make good contact on the bat's sweet spot.
2005 Combat B1 Da Bomb
The Combat B1 is made of composite metals, and its ability to drive the ball a great distance is unmatched. The thing that sets the B1 apart from most other bats is that you don't have to hit the sweet spot to get home run distance.
2006 Combat B1 98
The biggest advantage of this incarnation of the B1 is the balance of the bat. Instead of carrying most of its weight in the end cap, the weight is more evenly dispersed from handle to end cap. This is ideal for the line drive hitters who aren't going to consistently hit the ball out of the ballpark. This bat feels slightly lighter than similar end-loaded models, so you may want to use a bat that is an ounce heavier than what you normally swing.
2009 Easton Brett Helmer Reveal SRV2
This is one of the few bats on the market that will comply with the new ASA rules, yet still yield home run power, even for non-home run hitters. This bat is a composite material, and it is designed with power in mind. Line drives of 300-plus feet with this bat are not uncommon for some of the bigger guys out there.
2005 TPS Catalyst
The 2005 TPS Catalyst, made by Louisville Slugger, is a superb bat. The Catalyst is made out of 100 percent composite metal, and it is another bat designed for the line drive swinger. With a balanced barrel and a slightly smaller handle, this bat is easy to control, and allows you to place the ball where you want it.
Miken Freak Plus
With all of the features of the original freak, plus an end-loaded design, the Freak Plus is the bat of choice for players competing in home run derbies. When Miken took away the counter balancing of the original Freak for the more power-friendly, end-loaded design, sluggers claim distance gains of more than 30 feet.
2007 Mizuno Wrath 120
More heavily end-loaded than most bats, the Mizuno Wrath is really a long ball machine. After 100 to 200 break-in swings, the composite barrel is ready to flex and send the ball a long way. You may want to go down an ounce from the size you are swinging now, as the end-loaded design feels much heavier than most end-loaded bats.
2008 Worth Jeff Hall Mutant
Although this bat may have the longest break-in period of any bat in this list, once it finally warms up, the ball travels a long way. While this one isn't as great as some of the other Jeff Hall bats made by Worth, it is legal in nearly all softball leagues, making it a versatile bat to add to any bag.
All bats require a break-in period to warm up the barrel. Some are longer than others, but they all need to hit a few softballs to reach their full potential. When a bat is fully broken in, it flexes more than a bat that was just taken out of the wrapper, resulting in longer distance and cleaner contact.
2007 Jeff Hall Mayhem M7
This Jeff Hall bat doesn't take nearly as much time to break in as most of the Worth or Jeff Hall offerings. With the largest sweet spot of any bat on the market, you can have home run power nearly from handle to end cap.
2008 Rip It Reaper
One of the few ASA-certified bats to make this list, the Rip It Reaper is one of the best ASA bats on the market. While it doesn't drive balls the distance of some of the composite bats out there, the Reaper has plenty of pop. With an amazingly large sweet spot, the Reaper has a large following. Sadly, they no longer make this model, so finding it may be a bit difficult.
2005 Toledo Katana Crimson II
One of the few aluminum and composite metal hybrids on the market, the Katana was the first of its kind. This bat has a large sweet spot and a great response to most types of softballs. Some bats only perform with the tightly wound "hard" softballs, while others do their best with the looser "mushy" softballs. This bat responds well to any type of ball, albeit by sacrificing a bit of driving distance over some of the bats that specialize in one or the other.
Although the Katana isn't going to win any distance battles with the Miken's, it's certainly not far behind. It's also legal in every major softball league.
- Photo Credit boy with baseball bat image by Georgiy Pashin from Fotolia.com
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