Murrysville baseball trainer partners with Philly bat company to fund cancer research
Dave Muraco’s initial idea in starting up Grind 24/7 was to give Murrysville baseball players a local place to train and exercise.
But when the business opens, he will be doing much more. Through a partnership with a Philadelphia bat company, he will also be raising money for cancer research.
LV Lumber Bats, which began operation in December 2018, was the product of five years of brainstorming on the part of its founders.
“I was playing on the same travel ball team from fifth grade until I was a senior and I had the same coaches the entire time,” said Zach Kurtz, part of LV Lumber’s ownership group. “It was a family-run organization and it sort of became my second family.”
One of the coaches’ sons, Landon Vargas, was diagnosed with pediatric cancer and lost his battle with it at 9 years old.
“I used to spend a ton of time playing video games with him,” Kurtz said. “It was a really, really tough time for the family.”
When Landon was feeling well, Kurtz said, he was “really drawn to baseball. He’d catch fly balls, we’d pitch to him and he was really happy.”
After Landon’s death, Kurtz and his coaches spent a long time trying to decide how best to honor his memory.
“We ended up starting this wooden bat company, and we plan to donate 25 percent of the proceeds to help fund cancer research,” Kurtz said.
Muraco plans to take things a step further. He is purchasing LV Lumber bats at a discount, with plans to sell them at full price and donate all of the proceeds back to LV.
“I got a Twitter message about trying out their bats,” Muraco said. “When you read the story of Landon dying from cancer and about his great love for baseball, the first thing I thought was, ‘How can I help?’”
As Muraco prepares to open his baseball training center on Old William Penn Highway, LV Lumber’s bats will have a prominent place among the merchandise.
“We’ll sell a multitude of bats, but they’ll sort of become the focus,” he said. “It’s in line with who we are. My philosophy for the business is if a kid comes in the door, they’re going to work and grind. And when someone gets diagnosed with cancer, they have to fight and grind even harder.”
Grind officials have also reached out to the Miracle Field and local athletic associations in Murrysville and Delmont about potentially using LV bats.
Kurtz said LV officials couldn’t be happier to be joining with Muraco.
“We love partnering with good people in the baseball community who are excited about donating to this cause as much as we are,” he said.
Grind 24/7 will host an open house on Nov. 2. It is located at 5097 Old William Penn Highway in Murrysville. For more, see Grind24-7.com (the website is still being finished at present).
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .