2018 Louisville Slugger Solo 618 Youth Bat Review
Our Summary of the Solo 618:
The Louisville Slugger Solo 618 offers youth hitters one of the lightest wielding youth bats on the market. It adapts a single-piece aluminum construction designed to provide added speed to your child’s swing and a stiffer feel upon gripping the handle. The big 2 5/8 barrel is composed of Louisville Slugger’s patented lightweight SL alloy material and Speed Ballistic end cap giving youth hitters quicker swing speeds, increased confidence, maximized energy transfer when colliding with the baseball. Like all Louisville Slugger USA bats, it utilizes a custom Lizard Skins Grip also known as one of the most comfortable grips in youth baseball. If your child needs to catch up to pitches in the strike zone, it will do the trick with its speedy design. As an added bonus, the -11 drop length/weight ratio makes it one of the best USA bats to utilize this season.
Our ReView of the Solo 618:
With our neutral opinion on all bats, we think this might be the “pound for pound” best USA bat we have seen thus far. We definitely wouldn’t recommend this bat for any ball player over the age of 9 given its length/weight ratio however, it provided the younger segment of our youth volunteers with a supremely light weight quick swing and an impressively powerful crack on the baseball. The Solo achieved surprisingly high levels of pop, ultra-balanced weight distribution, and a quick and level swing across the strike zone. After approximately 275 swings with solid connections, below is our official review of the 2018 Louisville Slugger Solo 618 USA bat.
Evaluating the Pop of the Solo 618:
When judging this USA bat’s potential for pop, comparing the levels to heavier USA bats or those adhering to the USSSA standard doesn’t hold any weight. In our opinion, this would be similar to the best 155-lb. lightweight fighter squaring off against the best 205-lb. light heavyweight fighter. Obviously the heavier fighter will most likely win, however that shouldn’t discredit the lighter fighter’s abilities and talents. Being a single piece aluminum construction with a - 11 length/weight construction, the Solo 618 delivered solid shots from our hitters especially those between the ages of 5-8 years old. It’s not realistic to think it will out hit its heavier and more expensive counterpart in the Select 718 or outdrive a competitor’s composite youth bat models like the Easton Ghost X. By far, it offers significant enough pop for players transitioning into kid pitch divisions.
OFFICIAL SCORE: 9 / 10
Calculating the Vibration Control of the Solo 618:
In being a single piece construction, we anticipated that it would rattle off a few extra stings more than other youth bats like any hybrid which houses a two-piece construction. To our surprise, a good majority of volunteer hitters didn’t report any shock to the hands during our vibration control testing station. Of all the players who swung with the bat, only 10% mentioned experiencing any sort of lasting shock upon the grip. Out of these negative comments, 70% of the kids who issued complaints were younger than 6 years old. We feel like the lack of experience may have played a role in feeling the stings.
OFFICIAL SCORE: 9 / 10
Assessing the Grip & Comfort of the Solo 618:
When measuring the grip and comfort of any given bat, we can only determine results based upon our volunteer hitter’s feedback. Their scorecard's includes a section which asks a series of questions which include the following:
- When swinging the bat through the strike zone (use your best judgment), how easy was it to achieve a level swing on a scale of 1 to 5? (1 being very easy - 5 being very hard)
- If you had to describe in 1 word how the bat feels in your hand, what would that word be?
After accumulating all of the hitters’ feedback, the Solo received the highest scores in this category of all the 2018 youth USA bats that have a single-piece alloy construction. From our perspective, it offered batters extended confidence with its ability to generate hard solid shots while being easy to swing. One of our 9 year old volunteer stated the following on her scorecard: "This new Louisville is my favorite so far. I hit it far on the field at one station, I was able to make a lot of good line drives in the other station at the cage. The whole time, this bat felt very comfortable.”
OFFICIAL SCORE: 10 / 10
Measuring the Durability of the Solo 618:
After approximately 250 solid swings with the bat, our team was very pleased to only witness minor scuffs and handlings marks/scratches on the USA bat. The durable SL Hyper Alloy provided a strong material that was very capable of withstanding the onslaught of baseballs throughout the evaluation. Especially considering the price of the it, the quality of aluminum used is yet another example of why Louisville Slugger is one of the premier bat manufacturers in the market.
OFFICIAL SCORE: 9 / 10
Determining the Overall Experience of the Solo 618:
As we mentioned above, the 2018 Louisville Slugger Solo 618 is probably the best “pound for pound” youth USA bat we have evaluated thus far in terms of optimizing performance for a specific sector of youth ball players. The design of the Solo 618 focuses on players ranging between 5-8 years old who consider themselves more contact or complete hitters. Players utilizing a larger stature should swing heavier bats with smaller length/weight ratios. If your child struggles to keep up with pitches in the strike zone, it offers a super light-weight architecture helping to increase their swing speed. If your child makes contact with the ball but struggles at achieving line drives, it will provide a very balanced transfer of energy when ripping through the strike zone. In addition to these qualities, it also delivers much more pop than we have seen from other single piece construction USA bats. It’s a great youth baseball bat to utilize especially for the inaugural USA bat season.
2018 YOUTH BATS' OVERALL SCORE: 9.25 / 10