MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. — From south-central Pennsylvania to the World Series, that's been the path of Harrisburg area natives Ryan Engroff and Jared Smith.
“We started out helping some buddies make some bats out of a garage in Hummelstown, actually," said Smith, co-founder and CEO of Victus Sports. “It’s been a wild ride since the beginning for sure.”
Engroff is from Paxtang while Smith hails from Palmyra.
Together they created Victus Sports in 2012.
Today, Victus has become the premiere bat manufacturer for the MLB.
“We have at least one player on every team," explained Smith. "We have about 25% to 30% of the Big Leagues swinging our bat now, which makes us the number one bat in the Big Leagues, which is just an incredible thing to say.”
The company gives guys like No. 3 the tool they need to make magic at the plate.
“I think in 2015 or 2016, Bryce Harper used our bat, the ‘We the People’ bat down at the Home Run Derby down in Washington D.C. and won it. That was awesome," said Engroff.
Along with Harper, several other Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros players will be swinging V’s during the World Series.
Victus makes bats for Bryson Stott and Brandon Marsh on the Phillies.
“Knowing where we came from and how long we’ve been at this and to make it to the top and see the Phillies in the World Series with at least four of their players swinging our bats, has just been incredible," said Smith.
From start to finish, the bats are carved, sanded, and painted all at the Victus facility near King of Prussia.
“[They go] through so many sets of hands and eyes just to make sure the specifications are all legit," explained Engroff.
It's an artful process that makes moments like Bryce Harper's game-winning NLCS homer possible.
“It was a surreal feeling, incredible," said Engoff. "I think I probably watched 50 replays of it.”
“For us to see Harper hit that home run in the NLCS to send them to the World Series using our bat, it really kind of cemented us and for me, for Victus to be a part of that," added Smith.
As the World Series returns to Citizens Bank for the first time since 2009, the Victus guys hope more history is in the making.
“[Hoping for] a lot of hits, a lot of home runs and obviously we’re rooting for the Phils to pull it off.”
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