If you are looking to purchase a Senior softball bat, you may be quickly overwhelmed by all the options that are available. Senior softball has come a long way and there are many more choices for the average player that, ten to fifteen years ago, simply did not exist.
Before committing to any purchase, please be sure to check your league rules as bat standards are constantly changing and thus your league may have specifications that you need to be aware of. Some leagues simply allow all types of bats (these are known as outlaw leagues), while others have more stringent requirements that must be followed.
Senior leagues in particular tend to have a greater number of restrictions and bat rules that you need to keep in mind, and partly this is for the safety of older players. To explain further we need to take a closer look at BPF, or really what makes each bat unique in comparison to other bats that are similarly graded.
BPF or Bat Performance Factor is a measure of a bat’s performance after extensive laboratory testing. Senior Softball leagues have a maximum limit of 1.21 BPF, compared to USSSA which tops out at 1.20. In simple terms, this means a senior softball bat will generally perform better than a regular USSSA bat as the standards are simply higher. This includes pop, power, distance, exit speed, etc.
For older players, although they may not hit the ball as hard, there is still often very high exit velocities on batted balls and with slower reflex time on the part of the infielders, this could cause some concern over injuries. Generally speaking though, senior leagues will not have players who are crushing the ball and will typically be more recreational in nature, though some leagues do have a higher level of competition for those who wish to find it.
It can be difficult and subjective to pinpoint what is exactly the best senior softball bat for this season, as much about bat choices is personal and will depend on the individual player. The testing that we have done does factor this into consideration, and generally we try to pick very well-rounded bats that will suit all players. Here are the top 5 senior softball bats we have at this point, but do note that it is subject to change as more bats are introduced later this year.
How Do You Pick The Right Senior Softball Bat?
One of the most important things to keep in mind for senior softball bats is that newer is not always better. One of the greatest softball bats ever made, the Miken Ultra 2, is very old but still widely considered a top performer if allowed in your league and association. For a while it was strictly on a banned list or only available for use in home run derby play.
This is just an example that goes to show newer bats may not always be better than the tried, tested classic bats that we have all used and know and love. That being said, technology has come a long way and it is easy to see why so many have fallen in line with new product lines that have come out for senior softball bats in the last 2-3 years.
2017 Top Senior Softball Bats
With that precursor aside, here are some great choices for terrific senior softball bats this 2017 softball season:
First up on the list is the Miken Freak Premium which is a very balanced bat that does not need any break-in time and comes ready to go from day one. The triple matrix core means a larger surface area featuring the aerospace graded composite construction, and the Flex 2 Power technology increases barrel whip and energy transfer from handle to barrel.
- High quality composite with triple matrix core technology which results in a huge sweet spot.
- Hot out of the wrapper, ready for use immediately.
- Extremely comfortably tapered knob.
- USA made (in Minnesota).
- Highly priced.
- Does not come with manufacturer warranty.
A nice balanced bat that will deliver big hits from first use, the Freak Platinum from Miken is going to bring back fond memories of the Ultra for many users.
The Maxum Fully Loaded from Combat is very hot out of the wrapper with Combat’s patented massive sweet spot that they seem to introduce on all their bats. Combat offered some improvements on prior year’s iteration and it seems that the barrel is able to generate more of a trampoline effect. The slight end loaded weight also helps with generating more power and bat whip which will inevitably lead to greater on-field results this season.
- Precision molding technology to create a one-piece composite barrel.
- Slight-endload feel swings very naturally.
- Minimal break-in time.
- 13.5 inch barrel length with 2 ¼ inch diameter.
- Sharp crisp sound when contact is made.
- May not be suitable for colder weather.
Large sweet spot and hot out of the wrapper, it’s hard not to like the Combat Maxum Fully Loaded. Try it out this season as it has gained a bit of a cult following in the senior softball community.
Up next on the list is an exciting new bat from a little known manufacturer. The Dudley Lightning Legend is a relatively new bat from a newcomer on the senior softball bat market - it has a 13 inch barrel with full composite construction and boasts a large sweet spot. The Grip Spin technology also claims to give an added advantage to the batter by ensuring the barrel is tackified to create better backspin and lift on hits. Time will tell if this is a gimmick or if it really works, but so far results have been promising.
- Grip Spin technology creates a somewhat ‘sticky’ barrel which means on contact, the ball is naturally spinning backwards, which helps to create better lift and pop on hits.
- Full composite construction barrel with carbon fiber technology.
- Fairly large sweet spot.
- Durability is somewhat questionable.
- Does not come cheaply.
A very interesting bat to try out for all senior softball players. Those who use it swear by its’ effectiveness in generating backspin. Their line drives carry much longer and seem to be hit harder with greater exit speeds.
DeMarini’s Larry Carter Signature stick is next on this list as it is a very high-powered bat that has massive pop and distance on hits. The composite layer-by-layer construction is incredibly stiff and may very well be one of the stiffest composite bats available today. The end cap is also designed to give a bit of an endload feel and caps the power within the sweet spot, which is quite generously sized.
- Composite 4.One construction but with higher rigidity and stiffness than normal composite bats.
- End cap traps power within the sweet spot so no energy is lost through the end cap.
- Very large sweet spot, easy to make solid contact.
- Good power, pop and distance.
- Grip does not feel comfortable.
- Priced very expensively.
Another fine choice from DeMarini and a nice tribute to one of the greatest sluggers in the game, Larry Carter. The LC has results that speaks for itself, and it will quickly become a fan favorite and a weapon of choice on ball diamonds.
The Patriot rounds out our top 5, as Miken grabs another spot on this list. The same technology that they brought to the Platinum is here with the Patriot, as the triple matrix core technology has an even higher aerospace grade construction reducing seams from forming in the barrel by an additional 5%. It will no doubt remind you of the Ultra II and even better, a portion of the sales go towards a fund set up for military families - making you a true Patriot.
- Flashy red, white and blue design.
- Many elements of the original Ultra II.
- Comfortable tapered knob.
- Molded end-cap for great fit.
- Triple Matrix Core technology.
- Portion of the proceeds from sales of the Patriot goes towards a charitable organization.
- Two-piece design creates considerable flex, which may not be for all players.
- Hefty price tag.
The Miken Patriot is a great little stick that will bring back shades of the Ultra II, only repackaged in a bat that embodies the true American spirit. Made in the USA and supporting the troops - what could be more American than that?
The above list will help you get started on some great choices for senior softball bats this season. We are most excited to try the Dudley Legend, and can’t wait to hit the fields with it this year. Happy bat hunting!