BY STEVE KRAH
It’s a story of faith, community, perseverance and quality.
Partners Trampas Young and Todd Stephens have kept grinding to get Titan Bat Company where it is today.
Before there was a business, Young hand-carved bats in the garage at his Logansport, Ind., home.
First, it was miniatures. Then came a gamer for son Baylee Young (who will be a senior on the Goshen (Ind.) College team in 2020-21).
In 2014, former Logansport High School baseball players Young (Class of 1991) and Stephens (Class of 1993) joined forces to form an LLC.
Young is the bat maker. Stephens handles the business side of things.
The company grew and TItan moved to a 5,000-square foot building at 2135 Stoney Pike off U.S. 35 in March 2020.
The facility allows room for a semi-automatic copy lathe as well as new ultra-accurate MotionCat CNC machine and other necessary equipment.
“It allows us to keep up with the demand,” says Stephens. “The cupping machine allows us to take (up to) 6/10 of an ounce off a bat.”
There’s a place still tool bats by hand.
“On a good day, that’s a four-hour process,” says Young.
There’s an area for dipping bats in lacquer, painting them and applying logos.
The end of one room is devoted to the storing and caring of precious cargo.
It’s the wood that sets Titan apart. The company only uses Prime billets of ash, maple and cedar with 7- to 10-percent moisture content to turn a bat. In the wood industry, there’s Choice, Select and Prime and they all come with different price points.
“The billets are the best you can get on the market,” says Stephens, who lettered at Indiana State University in 1996 and 1997. “We could certainly buy cheaper.”
But Titan is making boutique hand-crafted baseball bats.
“We’re focused on quality,” says Stephens. “When makes us unique is that you can’t just buy wood from anywhere. We use wood that’s wedge-split that’s true to the slope of the grain.
“The wood can be too dry or too wet, which means it’s green inside and heavy. You have to have a specific bullet for a specific model.”
Titan is currently producing up to 30 models.
“We have a lot of repeat customers,” says Young. “We stick with Prime (wood) even for youth.”
Those loyal customers come back for the sound of a ball struck by a Titan.
“It stands out,” says Young.
There’s a reason the product carries that name.
Before thinking about going into business, former Logansport Church of Christ preacher Young was having a discussion with wife Tracey.
They came across the definition of Titan, which is a standout, powerful person.
“To me, that means the Lord,” says Young’
There’s sign in the shop letting visitors know that Titan is a “Kingdom Business” and cites Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
A year ago, David Cook of Hoosier Bat Company in Valparaiso, Ind., approached Titan about producing its labeled bats.
“He saw Trampas’ craftsmanship and that validated our brand,” says Stephens.
While they have not yet been certified for Major League Baseball, which means an inspection of bats and facility plus a $30,000 fee, Titan bats are being used by independent professional ball (including the American Association and Frontier League) and by amateur players (travel ballers including the Propsects National Team in Texas and training facilities like PRP Baseball at Finch Creek Fieldhouse in Noblesville, Ind., and Pro X Athlete Development and RoundTripper Sports Academy, both in Westfield, Ind.) from youth through college (including the College Summer League at Grand Park and Prospect League).
The Titan has been tested by former big leaguers Johnny Damon and Mike Sweeney as well as current Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Andy Young. Former Indiana State player Young stroked a double off Houston Astros right-hander Enrique Abreu for his first MLB hit Aug. 4.
The Logansport factory has two hitting cages so a bat can be both crafted and tested on-site.
When Titan gets the green light to be used by the MLB, it won’t mean a switch.
“We would not change a thing we’re doing as far as quality,
Titan also makes award bats for teams, companies and causes.
The bats have been used to recognize a sales “Quota Buster,” the memorial for Abigail Williams and Liberty German in Delphi, Ind., and as an auction item for a Marines Corps scholarship fund.
Young notes that one bat supports a dozen or more small businesses. Among those is Tina Buch of Tate’s Laser Engraving in Kokomo, Ind
There’s been plenty of learning the last six years.
“When he and I started this we did not have the support of a bigger company,” says Stephens. “We had to figure out everything on our own.”
Titan is basically a two-man operation in Logansport with Young and Stephens also working full-time jobs.
“It’s a part-time job with full-time hours,” says Young. “But for me it’s not even work, it’s part of my life.”
It’s not been unusual for Young and Stephens to take vacation days, weekends or late nights to knock out an order.
Stephens says grinding has gotten the partners to this point.
“It cost more than we thought,” says Stephens. “You have to have passion to get through the tough stuff.
“It helps to have a business partner who’s on the same page with a passion for baseball and a passion for the process.”
To get where it’s at, Titan has taken on investors — businessmen Dan Rose of Lafayette, Ind., and Phil Williams of Kokomo and Indiana State athletic director Sherard Clinkscales in Terre Haute, Ind.
“He has a ton of connections,” says Carmel, Ind., resident Stephens of Clinkscales, a former pro player and scout and college coach.
Williams has been handling social media for Titan.
It was important to keep the business in Logansport with its rich baseball history.
“They believe in fundamentals and how to play the game,” says Stephens, who attended a recent Berries alumni game with former LHS coaches Jim Turner Sr., Jim Turner Jr., and Rich Wild.
A Titan bat costs $100 to $160 with the higher end being a customized stick. Young says a metal bat can cost up to $500.
Stephens notes that the advantage of a Titan bat is immediate feedback. It has about a six-inch sweet spot — considerably less than a metal or composite club.
Titan is also experimenting on a concept from Hoosier that is a three-piece bat with maple, hickory and birch. Hickory is the hardest wood but can’t be used for the whole bat because it’s too heavy.
Want a Titan Bat Company product? Use promo code “TITAN15” and get 15 percent off a custom bat.