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By Bat Digest | Last Updated June 15, 2022
Clearly this is a high performance bat made for players looking for the absolute most out of their fastpitch softball bat. Its price point ($299 retail) puts it in some serious company but it’s hard to say any player would go wrong choosing the 2015 Mizuno Nighthawk. It’s a performance two piece composite bat in the fastpitch space with improved technology for butter smooth bombs.
One of the bat’s unique features sits in the transition point between the barrel and handle. Mizuno refers to this as their patented 2 PC LINK connection. Between the handle and barrel sits a composite material that decreases vibration and does not affect power transfer to the ball. In theory, this decreases hand stings on mishits and gives a smoother feel on contact. We found the feel at contact to be as smooth as Romeo.
Another performance feature worth pointing out is the double-walled barrel. Double-walled barrels tend to have longer sweet spots (and the Nighthawk definitely has a gigantic one) with increased durability. Further, the barrel doesn’t require a break-in period. The power was another feature we quickly noticed, the bat really is a top-shelf piece.
The swing weights on the bat increase as the drop goes down (obviously). But overall the swing weight is very well balanced on the side of light. Our swing weight calculator measured it out on the lighter side of balanced.
The aesthetic side of the bat is real gem. Black, yellow and white look fantastic and the multicolored grip is a perfect touch. The grip is a synthetic leather that feels right.
The overall rating uses seven different weighted metrics to determine our overall score. Half of total rating comes from the player and our exit speed tests (Player Rating: 25%, Performance: 25%).The other categories are Relevance (20%), Demand (10%), Durability (10%), Resell Score (5%), and Tech Specs (5%).
*: When a bat is denoted by a star (*) it is a preliminary rating. Expect it to be updated as we learn more about the bat and gather more data.
(PlaRa) Player Rating: We measure player rating from user reviews. Those users include our own hitters that we test at the lab as well as reviews we find online.
(ExVe) Performance: Performance measures the exit speeds and distances we capture in our hitting lab with HitTrax using these bats.
(Relv) Relevance: We measure the number of sizes and the MOI of the bat. Bats with a wider range of options get a better score.
(Dmnd) Demand: Demand is measured by consumer sentiment and the buzz around the bat.
(Drb) Durability: A bat’s durability is measured by user reviews as well as feedback from manufacturers.
(ReSl) Resell Score: Based on the price the bats go for used. Higher prices mean greater user demand which means, generally, a better bat. A resell value closer to its original price means a higher score.
(Tech) Tech Specs: We rate the bat on its technological advancements from previous years and compared to the industry at large. This is our chance to reward companies who are trying to innovate.
MOI or Mass Moment of Inertia is a measurement of bat swing weight. This quantifies how difficult it is to swing a bat. The industry often refers to this as things like End Load or Balanced but those words have been overused to the point of meaninglessness. We measure the actual swing weights of each bat we test using the industry-standard pendulum period, balance point, and scale weight. You can read more about that here.
The price is the original MSRP price of the bat.
The types of bats are single-piece alloy (SPA), two-piece composite (TPC), single-piece composite (SPC), hybrid (Hyb.), and wood (Wood). Hybrid bats are made of composite handles and alloy barrles.
The estimated date the bat began distribution.