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Local manufacturer providing bats to the pros

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 01 2012 03:13:18 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 01 2012 05:27:33 PM CST

Lehigh Valley factory creates bats

For 14-year-old Albert Houser there's nothing better than standing at home plate.

"I was just a natural at it," he said.  "It was just my favorite and I never wanted to stop playing it."

The Coopersburg teen's been taking the field for four years now.  But in order to up his ball game, his dad wants the right bat in his hands.

"Your timings going to be off, you're not going to hit the ball the way it should be hit," explained Al Houser.  "So it's important to get the bat sized by a professional and make sure they're using the right weight and right size bat."

The Houser's came to Lehigh Valley Bat Works to get fitted for a custom wooden bat.

"We manufacture bats for everybody from little league baseball all the way up through  professional baseball," smiled owner Steve Toth.

Saturday was the two year old company's grand opening at their new facility in Bethlehem.  It's part store front and part factory.

"We manufacture every single bat in this facility," said Toth.  "Every bat that we make is made out of a professional grade piece of wood."

The bats are cut, sanded, engineered and finished.  The whole process can be complete it about an hour and a half, including custom paint and printing.  Behind a top secret door is the equipment used to machine the shape of the bats.  It takes less than three minutes to turn a billet of ash or maple into the rough profile of a bat.

Between 5,000 and 10,000 bats are sold by the company each year, for the same price as buying one straight off a store shelf.  But the batting cage is what sets Lehigh Valley Bat Works apart.

"We have swing experts that will watch them swing and we can make recommendations on a size bat for them based on how they swing the bat," said Toth.

For Albert, he hopes his new perfectly fitting bat means more home runs.

"Better swinging, get better hits and just do better in baseball."