Murrysville baseball trainer partners with Philly bat company to fund cancer research |
Other Local

Murrysville baseball trainer partners with Philly bat company to fund cancer research

Patrick Varine
Submitted photo/LV Lumber
LV Lumber’s handmade bats help raise money for cancer research.
Submitted photo/LV Lumber
A group of raw LV Lumber bats in production at the company’s Philadelphia facility.

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 (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 .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.