There are a few things you notice when reviewing the 2016 Combat Wanted Bryce Oliveira Slow pitch softball bat. First, is that Mr. Oliveira himself has freakish bat speed. As such, I’m pretty sure the guy could blast an ASA core ball into the pacific ocean with a pool noodle.
The second thing you notice is that Bryce’s twitter account has 18 followers. Yes: one-eight (18). Tell me how one of the best softball players in the world has all of 18 people following him on twitter. This, in part, proves how worthless the twitter sphere actually may be. But 18? Go make it 19: https://twitter.com/BryceOliveira. Maybe he’d actually tweet something if we got it to 100?
The third thing you’ll notice is his signature 2016 Combat stick, the Wanted, comes in two different versions: an ‘ASA’ and a ‘USSSA, NSA, ISA and ISF’ version. Both are hot out of the wrapper bats made of composite. The ASA version serial number is WNBSP4 and the USSSA version is WNBSP3.
The Wanted chassis has always been a two-piece bat. Even in its baseball line. Oliveira’s 2016 slow pitch softball bat is also a two-piece composite.
There are lots of supposed benefits to a two-piece slow pitch softball bat. Some are confirm-able and most are just hype and marketing spin. But we do know that a two piece slow pitch bat gives engineers a chance to produce a handle with significantly different attributes than the barrel. It also gives them a chance to adjust bat flexibility at the transition point.
The 2016 Oliveira Combat uses these advantages by making an ultra-stiff handle and durable over-extended barrel. Compared to the 2015 model, the handle stiffness has been increased by 20%. The barrel is built with single, long strands of composite fibers to increase durability and give it a sizable sweet spot on a 12.5 inch barrel.
The transition point is less visible than the 2015 model where you could see a a rubber covering at the connection point. Now, the transition happens over a small ridge.
On the inside of the ridge, the transition material not only holds the two pieces together but also lessens any vibration in the barrel from reaching your hands. That sting dampening, in our opinion, is the main, if not only, reason to prefer a two-piece slow pitch bat.
Although several vendors are calling it a ‘slight-end load’ or ‘end-load’ the 2016 Combat Oliveira slow pitch bat measures out as a balanced. (We confirmed this with Combat). The bat is comparable in swing weight to the 2016 Slugger Balanced Z4000. (We confirmed this with our swing weight calculator).
Like the 2015 Oliveira Wanted the 2016 Oliveira Wanted comes with the creme de la creme of bat grips: lizard skin.
The differences between the ASA and USSSA versions of the bat are:
- The ASA has composite discs at specified spots within the barrel which we assume are to maintain the durability of the same over-sized barrel found in the USSSA version while allowing it to pass stricter ASA standards. Combat refers to these as Performance Enhancing Discs (PEDs). Some may argue with the word “enhancing” as the discs are only found in the Combat’s ASA bats. Either way the point stands: the ASA bat has discs within the barrel while the USSSA does not.
- The USSSA version has a black and white striped lizard skin grip while the ASA has a pure gray grip.
- Combat added a finish called ‘Combat spintech coating’ for the 2016 versions. We discussed in an earlier post how it’s unlikely that a bat’s finish can effect spin insomuch to achieve measurable results. And, as far as we can tell, Combat isn’t claiming it either with the arguable exception of the word ‘spintech’. Suffice it to say Combat has a new finish on their 2016 Oliveira Wanted Bat.
We are in absolute LOVE with the ASA version of the 2016 Oliveira Wanted. It is a smooth swinging, bomb dropping bat with a transition point that fires off butter smooth drives. A perfect balance and a thinner handle accentuated by the quality lizard skin makes this stick a verifiable raker for that league. Anyone in an ASA league who wants a top shelf performance softball slow pitch bat should have the 2016 Bryce Oliveira ASA Wanted on their short list.
We feel similar about the USSSA, NSA, ISA and ISF version of the bat. We do feel there are plenty of good options in that space but the 2016 Oliveira Wanted is clearly in the top class. If you prefer a two-piece USSSA bat with a stiff handle and a little flex in a balanced stick then you may have just found your bat.
I’ve had the most luck checking pricing and deals on ebay here. Those often don’t come with warranty so be careful. If there isn’t a receipt/warranty then make sure you are getting a good deal.
I always check pricing at a place like justbats.com too and if it close (10% or so) I end up buying from JustBats.