Mizuno, which has been making bats for slow pitch softball since the days of single-wall aluminum bats, is introducing the 2017 Rejuvenate – a one-piece, 100% composite bat with a BPF of 1.21 designed to be used in SSUSA, GSL and other senior softball organizations. And while some folks might say Mizuno is a bit late to the senior softball dance, Business Manager Chad Robertson feels the company is right in step with the music.
“We’ve had a lot of customers talk to us about the senior market growing and becoming a larger percent of the overall softball player mix in the slow pitch category,” said Robertson. “So we wanted to test the market and see what we could find (for ourselves).”
The Rejuvenate was the result.
“This bat is an opportunity for Mizuno to reintroduce our products to the senior player. A lot of today’s senior players have played with Mizuno Techfire bats in the past – Crush, Fury, Rage, etc. This is our first senior bat and our chance to restore Mizuno’s bat history to this market; that’s where the name Rejuvenate came from – meaning “to revive” our bat brand with these players and let them know Mizuno is still making really good, high performing bats.”
The Rejuvenate is currently the only one-piece bat made for senior softball use. Beyond just recalling the style of the legendary Techfires, the one-piece shell is unique by design.
“Our history and tradition has been one-piece designs,” pointed out Robertson. “It’s better performance as well because you don’t lose any energy from handle flex; all the energy (of the impact) is returned to the ball vs. the two-piece absorbing some of that energy. We recognize that the market has drastically shifted toward two-piece designs and that is an option we could add later. We have added it to our other slow pitch bat lineup so it’s likely that could happen down the road for the senior bat lineup as well.”
The Rejuvenate uses many of the technologies found in Mizuno’s Mamba line of USSSA and ASA bats, but it uses them in different ways. “In short,” said Robinson, “think of it as a Mamba with better performance and a wider sweet spot … that’s the Rejuvenate.” The 13-inch barrel flows to a taper and into a thin handle: but the new Anti-Shock technology adds layers of composite to the taper to increase durability and reduce sting; It is made of Black Array Carbon which is Mizuno’s proprietary composite blend: but it uses a new Triple Wall Barrel Construction (compared to the Mamba’s double wall barrel) allowing the walls to be thinner without compromising strength or durability; Cylinder Seaming technology is still used to eliminate inconsistencies in the walls: but new X-Zone Technology allows the composite fiber to be angled differently in 10 different zones along the length of the barrel expanding and intensifying the sweet spot.
The 26-oz model we hit (actual weight 25.9) felt lighter than the posted weight. The first thing you notice is not that it is a one-piece bat, but that it doesn’t sound anything like any of the two-piece bats we hit. It makes a sharp crack sound along most of the barrel; there’s not much vibration in the hands either so until you get used to hitting it you’re not really sure if you are making good contact … unless you count watching the ball fly beyond the heads of the outfielders. This is one of my favorite kinds of bats to test – no one in the group is familiar with the model, the technology or the design and so they set up to field the ball where you hit the last group of pitches and aren’t ready to move when the first couple of swings fly well past where they are standing. Everyone was surprised by the initial performance which led to a bunch of follow-up questions about things like weighting, feel and durability.
“It’s a good bat, we feel, for a wide range of hitters,” said Robertson. “It’s labeled a ‘balanced swing weight’ bat but all the testing we’ve done shows its more a mid-load vs a lot of our competitors’ balanced bat designs. We think that makes it a bat most players can use without any problem.
“The Triple Wall Barrel Construction helps the performance of the bat but it also improves the durability. We feel like we have a bat that will hold up and perform. It’s a tricky proposition to make bats with high performance that remain durable but we feel we have a bat that does both.