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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

2010 Combat Baseball Bat Reviews

By R. Nelson

COMbat (the company) started in 1998 when they began manufacturing softball bats for other brand name companies. COMbat bats were born in the last few years when they decided to put out the same bats they make for other companies in their own name, including baseball bats.

The big news for 2010 is that COMbat finally is offering their most popular bats, the B1 and B2, in Adult and Senior League models. It's hard to believe it took them so long to do this but at least the light bulb finally went on. Also in 2010, they'll finally get to push the B2 which had a delayed introduction last year because it initially did not meet regulations.

Another change for 2010 is COMbat's introduction of a 100% alloy bat. They've been exclusively focused on composite bats since their inception and this is a big move for the company.

COMbat needs to make a name for themselves in high school and college baseball to become a true player in the industry, and offering all their bats in Adult and Senior League models is a giant leap forward. We'll see if the emphasis on big barrel bats can get them some traction in 2010.

Here's the COMbat line-up for 2010:

COMbat Composite Bats

COMbat B2: As stated, the 2009 B2 had a slow start because of approval issues. This is the same design as the "redesigned" version that was finally approved for the 2009 model year. It a one-piece, single wall bat with a stiff handle and a low swing weight. The difference between the B2 and B1 is that the B2 has COMbat's "Variable Stiffness Technology is said to allow for lower barrel wall stiffness on both sides of the normal sweetspot, resulting in an enlarged sweet hitting area." It also has their "Blended Fiber Technology, where Arimid fibers ( found in bullet proof vests ) is combine with carbon and glass fibers in varying proportions and precise angles to get more trampoline effect and absorb vibrations resulting in more energy transfer to the ball and greater distance."

Did you get all of that? My favorite is the bullet proof vest comment. My opinion is this doesn't amount to much and that it's not much different than the B1. The B2 Adult -3 model retails for $369 putting it just below the other top tier composite bats. There are better options in this category and price range.

- COMbat B1: This bat has had the same design for several years; the only news is the introduction of the big barrel models. It's a one-piece, single wall bat with a stiff handle and low swing weight. The B1's claim to fame began in the 2007 Little League World Series when the U.S. team won the championship game on a walk off home run off a B1 bat. Not that it wasn't exciting and a plus for COMbat but is this really that big a deal? First if you're playing in the LLWS championship game you're probably a pretty good player.

Second the fences in Williamsport are only 205 feet from home plate! In the world of 12U travel baseball this is a F7, F8, F9 or double. This is just a bunch of hype based on one dramatic home run and nothing else. I'm sure the folks at COMbat did their best to stoke this magical story. The truly intelligent move by COMbat was pricing the B1 as a second tier composite bat ($299 for the Adult -3 model). Why they didn't do this last year when the B2 was introduced is anyone's guess. The big barrel option and new price might get some Middle and High School players to use it and give them much needed exposure above the age of twelve. It's one of my two recommendations for second tier composite bats.

COMbat Alloy Bats:

- COMbat Exit: COMbat goes metal with the introduction of their first 100% alloy bat, the Exit. It's a one-piece, single wall bat with a stiff handle and balanced design. The bat has "PowerMetal" alloy which is supposed to have been "Developed for Nuclear, Defense and Military Applications'. Once again a bunch of hype but at least they're being creative. Other than that, the bat claims to have a "unique look" and increased durability. The Adult -3 model retails for $199 where it competes with the Louisville Omaha and Easton V12 alloy bats. My recommendation is to go with those options rather than the Exit.

Take a look at Baseball Bat Reviews Blog for all my recommendations.

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