It All Started with a Love for Baseball and A Prayer
Founder and Owner, Leland Wetzel, grew up playing and loving the sport of baseball. The dream at a very young age was to play college ball, and possibly pro ball. After suffering shoulder injuries through his junior high years and eventually going through 2 shoulder surgeries, one during his sophomore year of high school, and the other during his freshman year of college, any baseball after high school was out of the question.
Leland also grew up with a love for wood working, following in his grandpa and dad's footsteps, so he decided to put the love of baseball and woodworking together. In July of 2012, Leland thought of the idea to make a wood bat for his nephew who would be turning one year old in August of that year. After talking to his grandpa, they went and met up with a wood-turner who let Leland borrow his lathe to make the bat.
When Leland pulled up to the man's house to make that first bat he sat in his car and prayed. The prayer was simple, but Leland had no idea what the Lord had planned for the future.
Leland prayed, "Lord, if you want this to be a hobby for me or maybe something even more than a hobby, give me a passion for it". And He did just that.
After making that first bat, he had to make more. The next few months involved extensive hours of learning about wood, best practices of wood-turning and testing bats. And Xylo Bats, LLC was created.
The first batch of bat were created in his parent's garage, but he then moved into a small shed next to his house in Dean, TX for better convenience. This shed produced over 100 wood bats for the next couple of years and it created, what Leland believes, the most important part of Xylo Bats - The hardening process.
Fast forward to October of 2016. Some great friends of Leland and his wife, Rachel, are from Minnesota, but
stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, TX. After finding out about Xylo Bats, they mentioned that they had a connection with Minnesota Twins first baseman, Joe Mauer and asked if Leland could make a bat for them to take up to Joe. Of course, he jumped on the opportunity (especially because Leland grew up as a big fan of Joe's) made him a bat, as well as wrote him a letter explaining the company and asking Joe to give it a try if he was able to.
Months went by before one day Leland received a text from his friend saying Joe loved the bat and is interested in talking about more for the season. Leland quickly made three bats to Joe's specs and got the opportunity to take the bats down to the Texas Rangers ballpark and hand deliver them to Joe in April of 2017.
Xylo Bats is so excited to be on this journey that the Lord has placed them on and hope to make a positive impact in the world of baseball.
Leland Wetzel is the founder, owner, and lead bat-maker at Xylo Bats, LLC. Leland focuses on the turning and hardening process of the bat.
Ross Harrison, brother-in-law to Leland, focuses on the most efficient ways to produce the bats and he makes them look beautiful with the staining and sealing process.