Xavier Magazine

Sounds of Summer

By the time their son Thomas was born, Rusty and Jennifer Staab were stumped. The couple simply ran out of ideas for a middle name. After all, this was their sixth child. Finally, they came up with an idea: Xavier. It was a perfectly fitting way to commemorate one heck of a run. Plus, the name took them back to their beginnings—they met on campus in the early 1980s, when Rusty played outfield for the baseball team. After graduating in 1983—Rusty with a degree in physical education and health and Jennifer a degree in business—the couple moved around before settling in Bellville, Ohio, where Rusty taught and served as head coach of the local baseball team. 

It’s also where the Staabs took a stab at the business world. After years of traveling an hour to find a batting cage, they decided to build one of their own.

“It was either buy property on Kelleys Island or build an indoor baseball facility,” says Rusty. “We still vacation on Kelleys Island, but just as renters.” They purchased 13 acres and began work on their new field of dreams. He named the facility “Hittsville” after his love of Motown music.

Hittsville isn’t your typical batting cage equipped with pitching machines. Batters hit off of “live” pitches, pitchers throw from the wind-up and catchers get in the game. “By simulating more game-like situations, all three players get a workout,” says Staab. He also offers baseball workshops and personalized training sessions, like helping players increase velocity and strength. Hittsville has its own workout room, and last year Staab added an outdoor baseball field. “I like giving the kids that really love baseball a place to come and improve their game.”

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