Not all bats are created equal. In fact, despite their apparent similarities, most bats really are quite different from each other in performance and specifics. For example, two bats that appear very similar could have vastly different weight drops and bat performance factors. These things will affect the certifications for which they are eligible, not to mention how each of them will feel in the hand.
To illustrate this point, we’re going to investigate the differences between two different Miken senior softball bats.
Miken Ultra II 13.5” Balanced SSUSA Senior Slowpitch Softball Bat
This bat is an ultra performer for those who play in senior softball leagues, especially for players that are interested in balanced bat performance and bypass end loads. This bat’s crowning glory is its construction utilizing a Carbon X-Shell. The Carbon X-Shell barrel creates an extremely tough barrel that is designed not only for serious performance but also for longevity.
Some players express concerns over two areas of composite bat performance. They argue that the bats require a break-in period because the carbon fibers that constitute the barrel need to “stretch” in order to achieve maximum trampoline effect. They also say that composite bats have a limited usable lifespan and after a certain point will fail to perform as intended. This bat is engineered precisely to provide a level of toughness that is unheard of, even in composite bats.
Another defining feature lies in its balanced load. Unlike some other bats which are heavily end-loaded for driving power, this bat is much lighter and more responsive in the hands. For tack-driving precision hitters, this is the kind of bat to swing. It’s amazingly responsive and lively.
2021 Miken Johnny Bailey Ultra Fusion Maxload SSUSA Slowpitch Softball Bat
On the other end of the spectrum, we have the 2021 Miken Johnny Bailey Ultra Fusion Maxload SSUSA Slowpitch Softball Bat, which comes with a half-ounce end load. That end load, shifted toward the end of the barrel, makes the bat feel heavier and slightly less responsive in the hand than a balanced bat, but when the time comes to swing all that power has to go somewhere, and it goes straight through the swing into the pitch. You can really send a ball home with an end-loaded bat like this.
It’s also made using Miken’s Z1649 Technology, which creates a barrel of different, interlocking fiber angles for better compression and a gigantic sweet spot. This key feature of this slow pitch bat is critical in optimizing compression for redirecting all that energy right back where you need it to go – straight back into the ball. As it is a two-piece bat, it also incorporates some proprietary technology to improve flex and feel. The handle is completed with Z-Lock technology, creating the perfect balance between stiffness and flexion. This bat loads ideally without diminishing feel in the slightest.
As they are constructed to such different standards of performance, these two Miken senior softball bats will appeal to different players. The Miken Ultra II is the ideal companion to a precision hitter that is more concerned about where and how the ball will come off the barrel. The Miken Ultra Fusion is heavier and perhaps ungainly by comparison, but for players whose chief concern is the distance into the outfield and not necessarily precision, this is the bat to choose.
Now would be the perfect time to bring up the fact that these are not the only Miken Softball Bats available to the modern player. For those looking for more variety and perhaps a middle ground between lightness and endload, check the collection of Miken bats available at HeadbangerSports.com.
There you can find these and many others, including a full selection of fastpitch softball bats and baseball bats as well. Visit their website first, and if you need any assistance selecting a bat, give them a call at