WAXAHACHIE

D-BAT is ready to hit a home run across Ellis County.

Founded in 1998 by CEO Cade Griffis, D-BAT is an indoor baseball and softball training company that offers camps and private lessons for younger players. According to a press release, D-BAT has grown 100 percent or higher every year for the past five years. Their five-year goal is to operate 250 locations internationally.

With this year being their 20th anniversary, D-BAT is commemorating the occasion by opening their 61st location at 3523 South Highway 287 in Waxahachie. The facility held a soft opening for their new location on Saturday, Dec. 1, while the grand opening will be held in January.

Griffis said although they just recently opened their new location, D-BAT has eyed Waxahachie as a potential market for a long time.

“Waxahachie has been on our radar for a couple of years now,” Griffis said. “It’s obviously a booming area, but it’s also a very rich baseball area.”

The location is owned and operated by Whoa Dill, who was the former head baseball coach at Navarro College and won a NJCAA national championship as the Bulldogs skipper in 2011. Dill said Griffis initially approached him, asking if he’d be interested in opening his own D-BAT franchise. Waxahachie was the first location that came to Dill’s mind.

“It’s a booming territory,” Dill remarked. “Red Oak, Midlothian, Waxahachie. We’re not even more than 10 miles from Ennis. All that area, the way baseball is played here, we just felt it would be a great fit here in Waxahachie.”

The 12,000-square foot location is outfitted with nine batting cages that have pitching machines that range from 40-70 mph for baseball and 40-60 mph for softball, along with a 120x120-foot turf field for outdoor play. The location also has three touch-screen automated pitching machines, which alternates between several pitch options.

The facility also houses HitTrax baseball simulator machines, which tracks a player’s hitting metrics, the point of impact and exit speed.

“We really want to try to enhance the overall-baseball play in the area,” Griffis said. “We feel like we do that. We try to partner up with the high school coaches and the little league coaches, giving them a place to practice year-round.”

In addition to their regular site amenities, the facility also has on-site camps, clinics and instructors for baseball and softball. Baseball instructors include Leighton Autrey, Michael Clents, Jody Spain, Heath Askew and Drew Harrison, while softball instructors include Ariel Ortiz and Whoa’s wife, Amy.

“[Amy] is in there doing lessons, I’m doing lessons, we’re all doing this together,” Whoa said. “Kids can come in, get better at the game and have fun doing it.”

The next clinic will be on defense and throwing and will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 11. D-BAT will also conduct clinics on pitching and hitting throughout December and January. Whoa said he hopes D-BAT will become another staple addition to Ellis County’s baseball community and will continue to help kids develop at the game.

“It’s going to encourage kids to get out there to learn the game of baseball and softball.” “We’re here to grow the game of baseball in Ellis County.”

To learn more about D-BAT, go online at www.dbatwaxahachie.com.