For Bryce Massey, opening up D-BAT Evans baseball and softball academy has brought him full circle from his days at Augusta University. Massey was a kinesiology major in the College of Education and Human Development and played baseball for the Jaguars.
Since his college days, he’s worked in public education and is still at Greenbrier Middle School, where he is athletic director and head football coach. He was baseball coach as well, but has since retired from that role.
Now, he’s added entrepreneur to his resume. Being a franchise owner of D-Bat wasn’t in his life plans, but the chance to jump into the baseball world outside of school and give back to the area at the same time was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
In the fall of 2020, his now-business partner Corey texted him asking if he had ever heard of D-BAT. After doing some research, they decided to make the commitment to open up the facility.
He came to the decision with the help of his business partner and his wife, Riki.
“I felt like God was opening this door and it was obvious it was a great opportunity and great set-up. We started talking about what it would look like and said we could probably do it,” said Massey.
D-BAT Evans is a 20,000-square-foot building featuring batting cages, machine-pitch cages, pitching mounds and hit-track machines that can give the analytics today’s baseball players seek. Unlike other organizations that feature travel teams, D-BAT Evans is just the opposite.
“We’re a facility open to anybody and everybody. We really focus on camps, clinics and lessons. We knew there was a need and it was affirmed since we opened it,” added Massey. “I can’t tell you how many times people have just said over and over again, ‘Thank you so much. We’ve needed this forever.’”
“We’re a facility open to anybody and everybody. We really focus on camps, clinics and lessons. We knew there was a need and it was affirmed since we opened it.”
Since opening in March 2022, Massey said it’s been like “drinking out of a firehose.” The timing couldn’t have been better with the start of Little League seasons as well as catching a week where rain dominated the weather in Augusta.
His wife Riki handled the business side of the facility, and they had a good plan in place to get the word out about D-BAT Evans. But being the parents of three, they decided early on this wasn’t just about a monetary gain.
“What we truly wanted to do, and this is the honest truth, is that we wanted to impact our community through this facility, through the families that come here, through the instructors that we have and even the front desk people. It’s made all the difference.”
They’ve also leaned on some other Augusta University alumni to be instructors. Among them is Clint Hardy, who was named one of the top players in the Peach Belt Conference his senior year.
Massey is also using his kinesiology degree to helping children and teens maximize their pitching and hitting potential. He said even the smallest physical adjustments can make big impacts on a player’s ability.
“I’ve done some lessons and love stepping in sometimes. It’s amazing the body assessments and what they are doing now to gain velocity. It’s the smallest of details that they take. It’s a hip flexion or ankle flexion or it’s a slight pronation, a little bit of a mobility thing. It’s crazy!”
Having family support from day one was the key to everything. His wife was willing to listen and support the notion from the get-go. Now they are trying to find the life balance everyone looks for after having so much success in the early months after launching the business.
“It’s been wonderful. Our kids have been great; they’ve been super flexible. We just have to figure out how to find some rhythms as a family and start getting out of this place every once in a while and making sure that we protect the family time, too.”