(Slugger Released FIVE different 2016 Z4000 slow pitch softball bats. Three are made for USSSA play, the other two are for ASA play. You can read each of those reviews here: ASA End loaded, ASA Balanced, USSSA Endload, USSSA Balanced, USSSA Power Load.)
Z4000 ASA Balance:
Approved for USSSA, ASA, ISA, ISF, NSA play, this bat is the more restrictive of the Z4000 end loaded bats from Slugger this year.
The bat, much like its Z3000 predecessor, is a smooth sailing, three-piece composite bat with a twelve inch barrel. Also like the Z3000, the bat comes in models 26 through 30 ounces in, of course, a 34 inch length.
Unlike the Z3000, however, the Z4000 ASA End Load is also approved in USSSA leagues. This allows those who play in multiple leagues to only have one bat. We suggest that only those in ASA, NSA and ISF leagues should go this route and use it as a back up in the USSSA leagues as ASA bats are more restricive. Those looking for bang for their buck (literally), and can use the USSSA league bats, should go to the Green Z4000 USSSA End Load slow pitch bat.
Before we share our experience with the Z4000 ASA Balance slow pitch softball bat let us first take a moment to correct some misinformation out there on slow pitch bats. The propaganda we always feel obligated to debunk is the whip action theory. (Mind you, this isn’t Louisville Slugger saying these things—just the shops trying to sell you their bats—and lots of other slow pitch two piece bats).
For the record, there is between little and no evidence that any human has the strength to actually make a solid softball bat bend backwards, like a golf club, before impact.
Just so you can confirm this somewhat, take any modern day softball bat and put its end cap and barrel in your opposite hands. Then sit down and put the transition point on your knee. Pull the bat towards you with all the power you have and tell me if the bat is flexing at all. It won’t. If you can’t bend the bat at the flex point by putting specific and serious pressure on the joints, then clearly just swinging the bat really fast through air isn’t going to do it either.
There are, HOWEVER, plenty of pictures and data which show a bat indeed bends backwards after impact. The Z4000 end load is no different. Solid contact at high swing speeds and this bat does indeed bend away from the ball. This bend is aided by the three piece composite design and gives the clean hits on the fat of the barrel a real gravy-like feel.
The bat is a three piece design. The three pieces of the bat are:
- Full composite barrel measuring 12 inches long with 2 1/4 diameter.
- 7/8 tapered full composite handle with synthetic grip.
- A rubber insert (called the Tru3 connective piece) found in the transition point between the barrel and handle.
Overall we are fans of this bat—especially those who play in ASA leagues and have a little more pop in their game (or want a little more pop in their game).
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