LUKE WALLIS, CONTRIBUTOR
Wilson students have lots of interesting hobbies. Some students read a lot, play sports, cook, ride bikes, play instruments, act, go skiing and so on. But there is one student at Wilson who has a hobby that no one else in the school even imagines doing: starting and running a home-made baseball bat company. Will Oakley is currently a senior a Wilson who is passionate about everything baseball. It’s not a coincidence that Oakley plays baseball as well. He is currently the starting third basemen for Wilson’s varsity team after transferring from St. Johns over the summer.
Oakley’s company’s name is “Ozone Bats” and specifically makes wood bats for players of all ages. “It was in part my love for baseball, and specifically my love for baseball gear, that made me start the company,” he said. “It was also a result of watching too much of the TV show ‘Shark Tank.’” The bat-making process is possibly the most interesting part of it all. The process takes place in a little work shop in his basement where the magic happens. Oakley explains, “I order the billets from a company in Michigan. Billets are long pieces wood in the shape of a cylinder. I start by cutting the wood down to the desired length. Then I mark the center of each end of the billet. Then I hook the billet onto the lathe (a lathe is machine that spins wood around really fast and allows for the wood to be shaved), and begin the long process of actually transforming the billet into a bat. Once the bat has its shape, I sand it, paint or gloss it, and put the finishing touches on it.”
At this point Oakley has not sold any bats yet because he is invested full time in school and the Wilson baseball season. The company is still getting started as Oakley launched the company in the fall and this year, he plans to mainly focus on selling bats to people in the DC area due to financial reasons. However, Will has big plans for his company. Oakley explained that he “wants to expand the company by eventually moving into the metal bat business as well as the wooden bat business. Metals bats are more lucrative and have more interesting designs than wooden bats. Also, metal bats are used by Little Leaguers, high school players, and college players, whereas wooden bats are only more popular than metal bats at the professional level.” Oakley is setting the price for these bats at $80 a piece so if you’re looking to buy a wood baseball bat anytime soon, find Will Oakley and place an order!