Trying to find a local place in the offseason to get instruction for baseball and softball players can be difficult, and some local men stepped up to purchase a local business that was providing that instruction.
This past winter, Jordan Mills, Scott Waugerman, and Tyler Black purchased Winning Edge Athletics, now just Winning Edge, from Mike Whitcomb to keep the facility going and allow for the instruction to take place.
The deal was put into place in late December and the three of them officially reopened the baseball and softball facility on Jan. 1 of this year. The facility on located at 829 Huntingdon Avenue in Bedford behind Bits of Time.
“All three of us worked there in the previous years when Mike Whitcomb owned it,” said Mills. “Whenever he said that he was ready to take a step back, we talked with him and decided, ‘hey it’s probably best that we keep this place open and for all three of us to take over.’”
The facility is currently closed because of the restrictions due to the coronavirus, but if there are questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org for that information. Winning Edge will be reopened when the restrictions are lifted by the state.
Whitcomb opened up Winning Edge Athletics in 2012 and has furnished the instruction since then. He had sponsored a travel softball team for the girls in area.
Whitcomb decided to sell because it was hard for him to balance the business with his current job at the post office. Also, he wanted to spend more time with his grandkids and has faith in new buyers to keep the business going strong. According to Mills, Whitcomb still goes in twice a week and works with the girls who want to learn or be better at pitching.
“I traveled all over the world playing, and I dealt with a lot of great pitchers that I learned from,” Whitcomb said. “I enjoy teaching these girls and getting them to be able to do the right things.”
Winning Edge is an athletic facility where young athletes can go and learn to be better players through fielding, hitting, and pitching techniques. The facility also allows families to rent out the building to host birthday parties and have groups such as Silver Sneakers and Building Athletic Kids come in throughout the week to work on different training programs.
“Our goal is to reach as many kids as we can, but we want to work with them as individuals so that they can be as successful as they possibly can be,” says Black. “Ultimately we want to get them to their individual goals, which for the most part is to play at the collegiate level.”
Something that Black thinks that gives them an advantage in this business is the different types of knowledge everyone brings to the table. Black’s main focus is helping out the pitchers, because it is what he did at the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown. Mills says that he is the one that focuses on hitting as well as scheduling everything, and Waugerman will work with hitting and fielding as well as all the other business aspects of the facility. However, all three of them have a great knowledge in the game of baseball.
“I think what we bring to the table over a lot of other places is that we are more focused on one-on-one or, at a maximum, three-on-one time with coaches,” said Black. “We don’t like to have massive groups of people and only focus on one thing. We like to specifically treat each baseball player or softball player as an individual and develop their skills that they have to make them better.”
The three new owners, along with instructor Banner Mann, have coached in the past at the junior high and/or senior high levels. Currently, they help coach the Bedford American Legion Post 113 baseball team in the summer and are hoping to get travel teams for both baseball and softball set up for next year.
“(We want to) continue giving kids a facility to work and improve their baseball and softball skills,” Waugerman said.
“We’re not trying to preach one specific thing for everyone,” explained Black. “We don’t want everyone to be taught the same way, because that’s not possible. We’re not trying to mass-produce one product. I think that everyone in baseball is different, so you have to treat it that way.”
Mills added that he is happy that they were able to keep Winning Edge open because it gives the local kids somewhere to go to get better at baseball and softball here in Bedford County. If Winning Edge had closed, players would have to travel to Johnstown if not farther to get additional instruction, Mills added.
“I think it’s important to have a place like this,” Mills says. “Around the county we have some wrestling and basketball facilities, and football gets to do a lot of things throughout the summer. Our hope is to have more [baseball and softball] activities and opportunities in the Bedford area.”
Mills, Waugerman, Black, and Whitcomb all hope that athletes continue to come into Winning Edge and are encouraging other to reach out to them if they are interested. They want baseball and softball to continue to grow in the Bedford community, and they want to make it fun for everyone involved.
“We appreciate the public coming and bringing their kids in and being respectful to all of us in our new time as owners. We are looking forward to the future,” says Mills.
Also helping at Winning Edge is Mann, who is the head instructor, and Kadie Morral, who will work on softball pitching clinics.
The facility offers clinics in pitching, fielding, and catching for both baseball and softball once a month, and private lessons are available.
For more information concerning the clinics offered, go to Winning Edge Baseball & Softball on Facebook or email email@example.com.