Which Bat Is For You

Bat DifferencesAt the youth level there is no significant difference in the specifications of a baseball bat and a fastpitch softball bat, but once a player graduates to adult leagues, the rules change!

The length of the bat is not generally different, with adult baseball bats averaging 31-34 inches and fastpitch softball bats going 32-34 inches. However, when it comes to weight, you will see a substantial difference. Baseball bats are heavier, weighing between 28 and 32 ounces. The heaviest fastpitch softball bats are about 28 ounces, while the lightest can be as trim as 23 ounces. The lighter the bat, the easier it is to swing, creating faster bat speeds and increasing the potential speed of the ball off the bat, commonly known as bat exit speed.

Bat Weight

Part of that weight difference is accounted for by the fact that baseball bats have wider barrels than fastpitch softball bats, by about 3/8's  of an inch. This is partly offset by the fact that fastpitch softball bats have a longer barrel than baseball bats, creating a bigger hitting zone, sometimes called a sweet spot.

Bat Stiffness

A final important characteristic involves the relative stiffness of the barrel. Baseball bats have stiff barrels that compress very little on contact with the ball. Fastpitch softball bats are allowed to have barrels that compress on contact and then release that stored energy in driving the ball off the bat, sometimes called a trampoline effect.

To summarize, fastpitch softball bats energize the ball off the bat more than baseball bats do, creating more power and drive. Be sure to look for bats that meet the specification requirements of the league. These specs insure the safety of all players involved, and the fairness of the game. Now go out with confidence and buy a bat.

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