(FOX 9) - Town ball over the years has become a big part of what binds together cities across greater Minnesota.
It’s unique, and so are the bats that many players are using.
Ted Nytes is a full-time cabinet maker and part-time baseball dreamer. He used to play town ball himself for the teams in Union City and New Prague. As a woodworker, he one day locked a piece of wood in a lathe and then turned his own baseball bat by hand.
"That’s like the coolest thing you can do in baseball, right? Hit, do the best thing you can do with something that you made," recalled Nytes. "Rounding all the bases, I had an epiphany. And I said, I need to do this. I need to make these bats."
With a rack of wood inside his shop at Nytes Cabinets, he started a new project. At first, he would give the bats away hoping guys on local town ball teams would simply try them. Many of those players started improving their stats and the bats caught on. Soon, Ted’s hobby turned into a side business with a down home name—Home Town Bats.
Now, town ball players scattered across Minnesota and even beyond are using the bats. In fact, nearly all of the St. Patrick Irish team swings one of Ted’s bats.
Irish player Matt Ambroz has found his perfect stick of maple.
"A lot of guys in the league you talk to and they’re using them. It’s the best. You see a lot of Home Town bats and it keeps Ted busy, which is awesome," he said.
At the beginning of each day, Nytes is still a cabinet maker. In his shop at the edge of the soybean fields in Union City, the saw blades are turning out custom cabinetry for home contractors across southern Minnesota. But in his spare time, his computer controlled lathe is turning out little sticks of power finding their place swinging over home plates across the state and beyond.
"Like I said, it's more of a hobby. I do the cabinet thing first and the bat thing second."
You can find Ted’s bats at www.hometownbats.com