Ask Maine native Jesse LaCasse ’03 why he makes custom wooden baseball bats and he’ll answer simply, “For the love of the game.”
LaCasse, who earned a degree in sports management from Saint Joseph’s and excelled on the baseball diamond for the Monks, began making wooden bats for his own use in 2006. When his summer league teammates wanted them, he added a logo and the player’s name. In 2008, he launched LaCasse Bats.
“Wooden bats are better for hitting and the key to a good bat is perfect wood. I use primarily white ash and maple. Many pros use ash because it’s flexible and strong. I turn each bat by hand on a wood lathe, which takes about 15 or 20 minutes, and brand my logo into it,” says LaCasse, who plays first base. “I’m a oneperson operation and all my materials, suppliers, and woodcutters are local.”
LaCasse supplies bats to teams from Little League through college in the United States and Europe. Most of his sales are in Maine and include Saint Joseph’s College, where Coach Will Sanborn ’86 says many of his players really like the LaCasse bats.
LaCasse also plays and coaches in Maine and Germany. He spent two seasons with the Neunkirchen Nightmares and recently signed a two-year contract with the Bonn Capitals. LaCasse and his family are living in Germany through September. Until he returns, his father is selling bats at LaCasse Shoe Repair and Sales in Skowhegan and online.
LaCasse’s skills on offense earned him induction into the European Hall of Fame and the Saint Joseph’s Athletic Hall of Fame. “I had great years at St. Joe’s,” he says. “Baseball was a big part of it.”
by Anne-Marie R. Seltzer