Rules And Regulations on The Bats in Slow Pitch Softball
A bat can be a highly personal item to a baseball or softball player. Even among players of the same size, for example, some are more comfortable with a heavier bat while others prefer a lighter bat. Some hitters care about their bat’s length while others focus on the handle width. Whatever your preference, make sure your bat meets the sport’s rules if you play organized slow-pitch softball.
Length and Weight
Asoftball bat, for either slow-pitch or fast-pitch play, may not exceed 34 inches long and can’t weigh more than 38 ounces, according to the Amateur Softball Association of America rules.
Barrel of the Bat
A softball bat’s barrel must be round within 0.05 inches in diameter. The overall diameter at the bat’s largest point -- which is within the barrel -- can’t exceed 2.25 inches. If the end of the barrel is neither closed nor made of wood then the barrel must contain an end cap or other insert made from a material such as rubber or plastic.
Unlike the barrel, a slow-pitch softball bat’s handle may be oblong. The handle must contain a safety grip that is at least 10 inches long and no more than 15 inches from the knob at its farthest point. The grip may be a permanent attachment made by the manufacturer, or the player may apply one or two layers of tape in a continuous spiral. Players may apply pine tar or resin to the safety grip, but not on any other portion of the bat.
Each bat must contain a circular or oblong safety knob at the end of the handle, within 3/8 inch of the handle’s safety grip. The knob’s diameter at its widest point must be at least 1/2 inch greater than the handle’s overall diameter, while the diameter of the knob’s flat surface that sits next to the handle must be at least 1/8 inch more than the handle’s diameter, including the safety grip. The flat surface must be within 10 degrees of perpendicular relative to an imaginary line drawn lengthwise through the bat.
Bats must either be made from one piece of metal or wood -- almost all softball bats are made from metal -- or must be assembled by the manufacturer to form one permanent unit.
Warm-up bats may be used, as the name indicates, in pre-game warm-up sessions. They must follow the same grip and knob safety regulations as standard slow-pitch softball bats and each must be made as a one-piece unit. The bats must also be marked to indicate that they are warm-up bats.
Bats used in ASA play should contain an ASA certification mark. As of 2012, bats must contain either an ASA 2000 or ASA 2004 mark to be used in standard ASA competition. Some ASA 2000 bats may not be used in championship play. The ASA maintains a list of such bats on its website.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.