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Thread: "New" softball dad help please

  1. #1
    Checking out the clubhouse Neebles's Avatar
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    Default "New" softball dad help please

    Alright, I want to apologize in advance...I have probably a unique situation and need some advice regarding a bat purchase for my daughter. She is 12, and literally just started playing softball this past summer. Well, somehow she managed to make it into a 14u travel team for this upcoming season (no they didn't take everyone that tried out). Anyway she does have a lot of work to do, and needs a decent bat. I don't know where to start... I reached out to a coach, and they said that while she is really "learning" how to hit, we can expect her to beat up bats quicker than a more seasoned hitter... That makes sense I suppose. The coach also said a decent "starter" bat would be a Dimarini CF5 2012 or newer... I don't mind dropping a few bucks (yep, I have seen the prices) on a bat (or bats), I just don't know where to start. There aren't any demo houses or anything around me, so she can swing bats at the store, but she can't hit them. She has surprisingly good mechanics, and makes solid contact, but the balls just don't pop off the cheapie aluminum fastpitch bat she is using. She is also a bit embarrassed by the "ping" it makes compared to the other girls and their composite bats.

    Anyway, any recommendations would be much appreciated, please let me know if you need any more info from me. Right now her bat is a 31/21.


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  3. #2
    I can talk softball all day Gambler Bob's Avatar
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    I think it would help if you told us your daughter height and weight. A 100lb girl will swing a different size bat than a 150lb girl in most cases. The Demarini CF series and the Louisville Slugger LXT and Xeno series are the most popular in my area.

  4. #3
    Softball Junkie CoachJD's Avatar
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    In addition to what Gambler Bob said, if you think you're going to beat up a bat, find a model from last year or the year before. Check eBay for new bats. I've restocked my team with a bunch of $300+ bats that I got for anywhere from $60-$150 just because the newer model is in and they're clearing out stock. You can find some really good deals on good bats.

    And check reviews. From my limited experience, if the 2014 version of a bat is well-received, the 2015, '16, etc. will be, too, but I'm sure that's not always the case.

    Oh, and be sure you're aware of if the bat is balanced or end-loaded (or handle-loaded in the case of the Slapper bat). Your daughter might end up loving an end-loaded bat, but I'd probably look for something balanced for now.

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    Neebles (08-11-2017)

  6. #4
    Softball Junkie sbmom19's Avatar
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    Can she swing any of her teammates bats just to try a couple out? Sometimes they feel different at contact - my DD doesn't like how DeMarinis feel at contact but does like LS and Easton. Ask the coach if he can find a couple of bats for her to try...
    Play for the name on the front of the jersey and they will remember the name on the back.

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  8. #5
    I eat, sleep and breathe softball riseball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbmom19 View Post
    Can she swing any of her teammates bats just to try a couple out? Sometimes they feel different at contact - my DD doesn't like how DeMarinis feel at contact but does like LS and Easton. Ask the coach if he can find a couple of bats for her to try...
    This is decision she must make. Granted there should be some financial constraints. What another player or bucket parent thinks is great may feel terrible in her hands. Like @sbmom19 said, have her try some of her teammates bats. She should definitely try before you buy, especially a used bat. If she can't swing it, do not buy it. Forget about which bat supposedly has more pop, that is pure BS. What counts is how it feels in her hands.
    Last edited by riseball; 08-11-2017 at 09:01 AM.

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    Classof2020 (08-16-2017), Neebles (08-11-2017)

  10. #6
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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball JAD's Avatar
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    If her team is practicing get her to try some teammates bats to see if she gravitates towards one and find out what size seems to fit her build. Avoid the temptation to get a -11, -12 or -13. Go with a balanced -10 until she figure how what type of hitter she wants to be. Hard to go wrong with anything from the major manufacturers - Demarini, LS, Easton. My guess is a 31/21 or 32/22 should work.
    "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times" ~Bruce Lee

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  12. #7
    Allergic to BS Strike2's Avatar
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    It can be tough for some parents to find the right bat for their kid, and can go through some expensive trial and error. Look at what's in the team bat rack, and start there. Chances are that her team mates mostly swing Demarini or LS. Unless she has a big and powerful swing, I'd definitely go with a balanced design such as the Louisville Slugger Xeno or LXT. It's really hard to go wrong with those two bats.

    Most definitely look for last year's model. All my bat shopping happens in the late Fall, where the best prices on closeouts are typically found.

    There are bat size charts that provide guidance about length and weight given the size of the hitter. If she's smaller for 14U, a 31/21...if she's bigger, it's possible that she might need a full-sized 34 inch bat. My average-size DD swung a 32/22 in her first year at 14U, and a 33/22 this past year. Remember that this is the time that kids can really grow, and what you buy now might not be the best choice in April.

    Also keep in mind that most bat weights are lies, and that they can actually weigh an ounce or more than what is on the knob. Yes, that can make a difference. I agree that you should avoid -12 or -13, but -11 models from manufacturers such as Louisville Slugger are quite good.

    Lastly, hitting a softball into a net or even off live pitching doesn't beat up a quality bat. Yes, it's possible that contact at the handle or neck with a hard-thrown pitch can break it, but that's unusual, and I've never personally seen it. Hitting the harder cage balls off a pitching machine does beat it up, as does banging it on the ground or against metal cleats. Bats that break typically have been used to hit things that they shouldn't. Hit things it was designed to hit, and it will likely outlast your DD and you'll be able to sell it on Ebay. Have an aluminum bat of similar dimension for swings against a pitching machine.
    Last edited by Strike2; 08-11-2017 at 11:22 AM.

  13. #8
    I eat, sleep and breathe softball quincy's Avatar
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    Easy to be lost, it is really confusing IMO.

    Swinging a teammates bat in practice is probly the best bet then pull the trigger.

    I was supprised how much difference a composite bat made.

    We are never cutting edge, always a year of 2 behind. DD swung a CF3 this year, about 5 years behind.

  14. #9
    I eat, sleep and breathe softball grcsftbll's Avatar
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    DD's first bat was a CF4 off eBay. She's on her 3rd Demarini now, a CF8 being the latest. She won't swing anything else. If her teammates will let her try theirs I'd do that, so you don't end up buying one she hates. It's funny how picky they can be about their bats.
    Softball Mom

  15. #10
    I can talk softball all day KPower's Avatar
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    DD is little (just 80ish lbs) but her hitting coach was determined to have her swing a -10 right from the start. She now switches between a 31/21 LXT and a 32/22 Demaini Slapper. She is a lefty who bunts, slaps and hits away. She really likes the sound of the LXT - makes her feel like she is hitting the ball harder, but she probably has more contol with the slapper - it is technically balanced but the weight is shifted slightly towards her hands and the barrel is a little longer. Most of the girls on DDs team swing either a Demarini CF8 -10 or a Xeno. She is 14U.

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