The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

Published by Kyle Hodge, Lead Engineer

Axe slowpitch continues to turn heads… and for good reason.  Conference-level players are making the switch, and more and more hitters are noticing that the current Axe lineup tops the industry in barrel performance.

Each individual model in the Inferno and Scorch lineup was tuned for the metrics desired by both top slowpitch conference players, and recreational league players alike. Today, we’ll give you a peak behind the curtain regarding the characteristics and design of each slowpitch model, specifically covering:

  1. Basics of the Composite Bat Design
  2. Individual Model Characteristics
  3. MOI’s, Weights, and Barrel Lengths
  4. Durability and Performance Guidelines
The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

Basics of the Composite Bat Design

While across industries, the term “composite” can take on a variety of meanings, in baseball and softball, it typically refers to a barrel wall or handle being created of either carbon or glass fiber, or a combination thereof.  Softball barrel designs can be extremely complex, specifically due to the variety of options and variables that composite materials offer to the designer.   Carbon and glass fibers both have their individual benefits, with different combinations yielding different results. Combine the material options with fiber angle (the orientation in which the fiber is placed upon the bat), number of layers, layer geometry, and order of placement, and you are left with millions of design outputs for any given barrel.

Additionally, each of the four major Axe Bat slowpitch category models feature what we call a “triple wall” barrel, which refers to the use of two separate “slip planes” or “release plies” which separate the barrel wall into three individual segments. Generally, a thinner barrel wall will translate to a high performing barrel, due to the greater deflection of the barrel upon contact with the ball – slip planes work to promote this thin-wall feeling in performance, while still offering the durability of a thicker-walled construction.  Each slip plane separates one barrel segment from another, allowing each to act as their own thin-walled region, and ultimately, create a more efficient trampoline, with more energy transferred to the ball.  Our HyperFlex barrel technology can be seen rendered below:

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & ScorchThe Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

The design characteristics above can be used to promote the desired bat features in a finished product – whether it be maximizing durability, feel/vibration, or of course maximizing performance for the league or governing body in which the bat is stamped.  The presence of each league’s “stamp” is the primary reason for multiple models being necessary across the slowpitch category, as the two most prominent governing bodies, USSSA Softball and USA/ASA Softball, both have different peak performance limits allowed on-field.  More can be read on the difference between these two in our Bat Performance Standards blog.

Individual Model Characteristics

Every model in the Axe lineup will come equipped with a composite barrel, composite handle, and either our OG “standard” axe handle, or our new “flared” handle – the difference between these two handles can be seen below:

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

In addition to handle differences, each individual model may feature differences in barrel layup (discussed above), swing weight or “MOI”, barrel length, or all of the above.  I complete breakdown of these attributes by-model can be found below.

BY-MODEL BREAKDOWNS

USSSA INFERNO (BALANCED)

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch
The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

 

Built to meet the new 240lb USSSA barrel compression standard, the Inferno is a true leader in industry performance.  With a barrel compression off the shelf of approximately 260lb, the Inferno is truly hot out of the wrapper, while still allowing room above the 240lb compression threshold for the bat to amply break-in throughout a season’s use.  Upon break-in to the 240-250lb region (which you can expect only after 100’s of hits with a high compression USSSA softball), the bat will truly feature a “can’t miss” barrel, with a sweet, low-feedback feel.  This balanced model will swing true-to-weight, with a low-MOI feel, and an easily controllable barrel.

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

 

The USSSA Inferno ENDLOAD will feature all of the same design characteristics featured in the balanced model above – while maintaining the same 13.0” barrel length.  The swing weight of this model will feel what players most commonly associate with a “0.5oz” endload – with a moderate MOI still accessible to most players – conference or rec alike.

 

USSSA INFERNO (12” MAXLOAD)

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch
The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

 

The USSSA Inferno 12” MAXLOAD will feature many of the same design characteristics featured in the Inferno models discussed above – but with a shortened, 12.0” barrel length, translating to a “whippier” feel, and a sweet-spot more distally positioned, toward the bat’s cap.  The MOI of this model is similar to that of the standard endload model, but the shorter barrel will typically lead to the feeling of a slightly more endloaded construction.

 

USSSA INFERNO ZANE MIGUES (MAXLOAD)

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch
The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

 

The Zane Migues signature design will feature a few attributes that will make this model stand out in comparison to its other Axe USSSA counterparts.  First and foremost, it is a true “MAXLOAD”.  While it is only offered in a 26oz and 27oz scale weight – the MOI of these two weights will tip the scales close to as high as anything in the industry. This bat also utilizes a 13.0” barrel.  The second large differentiator is the use of the OG Axe handle.  This will encourage a more “locked-in” feel, and have the maximum barrel control benefits of the standard, traditional axe slowpitch handle.   

 

USSSA/USA DUAL-STAMP INFERNO (BALANCED)

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

 

The most versatile bat in the game, the “dual stamp” Inferno model is certified in both USSSA and USA/ASA leagues. With a barrel compression of approximately 280lb, the dual stamp is built to last, while still offering red-hot performance only seen by a select few in the industry (and comparable to no one in the dual stamp space specifically).  The dual stamp will offer a slower break-in, and is designed for multiple seasons of use. Specifically when hitting the low compression USA softball, this model can be used for batting practice and games alike, with no fear of breaks. It will feature a slightly stiffer, louder barrel, and offer the slightly stiffer feedback that many high-level players prefer, causing this bat to be used as a “gamer” for many top conference players, despite its dual stamp status.

This balanced model will feature a low MOI and easy swing, while utilizing our OG Axe handle for maximum barrel control.

 

USSSA/USA DUAL-STAMP INFERNO (ENDLOAD)

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

The dual stamp Inferno ENDLOAD will feature all of the same design characteristics featured in the balanced model above – while maintaining the same 13.0” barrel length, but with a slightly endloaded feel, and the Flared Axe handle. 

 

USA SCORCH (BALANCED)

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

 

Designed to meet the USA performance standard, the Scorch is also a leader in industry in barrel performance.  Similar to its USSSA counterpart, the  barrel compression off the shelf will be approximately 260lb.  What sets this model apart from other industry leaders is its versatility:  this bat can be (and is encouraged to be!) used with any softball – hard core (.44/375) or soft core (.52/300) alike.   No need to worry about fragile durability if or when a high-compression softball gets mixed into the bag – in fact, we’d encourage it!  For peak performance in-game, we’d recommend a light break-in (more on break-in and durability in the section below) with a higher compression softball, prior to tucking it in the bag for game-use with the standard .52/300 USA Ball – at which point, it should still last you for many seasons to come.

This balanced model will feature a moderately low MOI and easy swing, along with our Flared Axe Handle, and a 12.5” barrel length.

 

USA SCORCH (ENDLOAD)

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

The USA Scorch ENDLOAD will feature all of the same design characteristics featured in the balanced model above – while maintaining the same 12.5” barrel length, but with a slightly endloaded feel, and the Flared Axe handle.

 

SSUSA INFERNO (BALANCED)

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

Pure. Un-doctored. Barrel Performance.  The SSUSA (Senior Softball) Inferno is the hottest bat allowed in the world of softball.  With a barrel compression out of the wrapper of approximately 210lb, the Inferno will offer plenty of performance from swing-one, and will hold-up durability-wise with the best in the industry.  The barrel will only get better from there on, breaking-in below the 200lb threshold.  The bat is approved for play with any compression softball- both the .44/375’s used in SSUSA play, or harder or softer compression balls from other leagues, such as: .44/400, .40/325, .52/300.

 

Swing Weight and Moment of Inertia (MOI) Details

Just as in baseball, understanding the swing weight of your bat can be critically important to ensuring success at the plate.  This swing weight can be precisely calculated via Moment of Inertia (MOI) measurement.  Further details regarding the calculation and measurement of a bat’s MOI can be read in our previous post.

The entirety of Axe Bat’s slowpitch line is precisely weighted to both maximize barrel performance and fit the desires of a customer and the given weight class.  Specific MOI’s for all slowpitch models are shown in the by-model graphics above.

Choosing the correct MOI or swing-weight will primarily be driven by customer feel, along with customer swing capability and barrel control.  In the most general sense, without variance of any other factors, a heavier and higher MOI bat will result in more “collision efficiency”, and greater exit speeds.  However, each bat in Axe Bat’s lineup has its composite makeup tailored specifically for its weight class. 

To help gain a better understanding of these shifts in weight, and their results, it can be generalized that most high-level slowpitch players or hitters will be able to distinguish a change when 75-100pt of MOI is altered. Shifts of 50pt or below (i.e. from 8500 to 8520) will often go unnoticed.  Additionally, to quantify the difference in collision efficiency and potential performance: generally, shifts in performance due to MOI will be fractional – any large barrel performance effects will be a product of the composite barrel layup, as discussed above, while shifts in MOI will only create slight changes in data: when taking an identical barrel construction, and increasing the MOI by 500pt while keeping the total weight equivalent (for instance, similar to the difference between the 28oz “Balanced” and 28oz “Endload” models shown in the MOI chart above), we would expect the peak batted ball-speed of the barrel construction to increase by approximately a quarter of a mile per hour, while the peak performance location (i.e. sweet-spot) to shift 0.5”-1.0” toward the endcap.

 

Durability, Break-In, and Barrel Performance

As noted in the model-by-model specifications above, different bats will inherently have different requirements in order to reach their peak performance zone. As a general rule of thumb, all Axe models featured in this article will get better with time (i.e. higher average exit velocities after a greater quantity of swings) – however, toeing the line of peak performance and durability can be tricky.

A few general habits can help preserve the life of your bat – most notable: after proper break-in, low-compression softballs (.52/300) should be used for all non-game / batting-practice use.  With the exception of the highest-end swing speeds and exit velocities, low-compression softballs will break down a bat barrel at an extremely low rate, meaning you can achieve games/months/years of durability out of a bat if you limit your contact to these balls only.

Break-in times will depend heavily on bat/ball collision speed.  The chart below can be used as a general resource to help guide how many swings you may put on your bat during batting practice, prior to switching to a low-compression softball only, and/or saving the bat for game-use.

The Comprehensive Guide of Axe Slowpitch Softball Models: Inferno & Scorch

Armed with the information above, you should feel confident making the correct decision regarding which Axe slowpitch model best fits your swing! Have further questions regarding this topic? Don’t hesitate to reach out via chat or email to an Axe customer service representative.