Florida collegiate summer leagues to use Maine-made Dove Tail Bats
By Ernie Clark, Bangor Daily News Staff
New baseball markets mean new revenue streams for Dove Tail Bats.
The Shirley-based wooden bat-making company located on Route 15 recently agreed to three-year contracts with three different Florida-based summer baseball leagues.
Dove Tail Bats will furnish bats for the Florida Gulf Coast League, the Collegiate League of the Palm Beaches and the South Florida Collegiate Baseball League, according to company founder and CEO Paul Lancisi.
The company will make nearly 2,000 bats this summer for those three leagues alone, with additional sales opportunities.
“Each of these college leagues has a coach who usually coaches a travel baseball organization or owns one, so now you’re tapping into more than what you initially went after,” Lancisi said.
Dove Tail Bats can accommodate its growing market in large part because of its access to high-quality ash, maple and birch wood grown in Maine. It also expanded production capacity at its mill, located just south of Greenville, when business slowed last year due to COVID-19.
That expansion included the construction of a new building for the company’s cabinet-making branch and moving the bat-making operations into a larger area. They also purchased a new dowel machine and another kiln that enables Dove Tail Bats to dry up to 4,400 billets each month.
Billets are the rounded pieces of wood that are turned into bats, and the expansion included tripling the size of the billet storage area to accommodate increased production.
“We needed to expand our capacity, which we did during 2020 when things shut down,” Lancisi said. “By expanding the mill capacity and with the opportunity to buy more wood, things have really exploded for us.”
Lancisi said while some other bat producers have faced recent supply shortages, in part due to Chinese companies buying logs from New York state and shipping them home to be used to make furniture, his company has faced no such challenge.
“What’s happening is they’re having trouble getting wood down there for the billet supply so the bat companies can’t get billets,” he said. “So we’re not only gaining all their players because they can’t get material, we’re having bat companies calling us asking us to supply them but right now we’re not going to because I want their players first.
“We’re doing really well right now with log supply.”
Dove Tail Bats connected with the three southern summer leagues with the help of Danny Tufariello, the company’s director of sales in Florida.
“We are looking forward to providing these players with premium-quality bats to give them the best chance for success in their quest to achieve their dreams and play baseball at the next level,” Tufariello said.
Dove Tail Bats has been in the wood business for more than four decades but started producing baseball bats as a side business in 2005. Today it provides bats for players at all levels, including college, semi-pro and the professional ranks.
New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso used yellow birch Dove Tail bats to win the 2019 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby, compete in that year’s All-Star game and slug an MLB rookie record 53 home runs while going on to be named National League Rookie of the Year.
“We’re picking up more and more players,” Lancisi said. “We have a lot of guys in Triple-A on the brink of getting called up now. That’s been really huge.”
Lancisi will return to Florida soon for the grand opening of the Southern Florida Collegiate Baseball League season, where Dove Tail Bats will set up a portable batting cage and conduct bat fittings for the players.
All three of the 10-team college summer leagues newly affiliated with Dove Tail Bats begin play in June.
“Our partnership with Dove Tail Bats is going to allow our players to swing industry-standard wood bats while competing in the [Collegiate League of the Palm Beaches],” said Jeremy Plexico, executive vice president of Prospect Select Baseball, parent company of the CLPB.
“This brings a tremendous amount of value and professionalism to our league.”