Long before Dubs became a catchy nickname for the Golden State Warriors, Erik Wagle was referred to as E-Dub. His organization, Dub Baseball, is a play off his nickname. And just like the recently crowned NBA champions, Dub Baseball has the makings of a budding dynasty in Hollister. As an organization that has two facilities and gives back to the community, Dub Baseball is so much more than a baseball traveling club program and building.
They also provide free baseball clinics for underprivileged youth, scholarships to families that can’t afford the fees and emphasizes player development as opposed to a win-at-all costs mentality.
“First off, we’re teachers and developers,” said Wagle, who started Dub Baseball five years ago out of their flagship facility in Morgan Hill. “All of our coaches go to clinics all around the country to continually learn and improve their skills. We’re really focused on our long-term vision, which is how can we make a kid good not just now but good in the long run.”
Dub Baseball does this with a top-notch Dub Baseball Hollister staff that includes former San Benito High standouts Kalev Betancourt, Mark Hurley and Seth Hudson. Michael Hernandez, a former Gilroy High standout, conducts a couple of clinics a week.
“Michael Hernandez is killing it,” Wagle said. “I’m getting texts all the time on what a good job he is doing. He’s also really good on the marketing side of things.”
Betancourt gives hitting lessons a couple of days a week at the Hollister facility, which opened last October and houses pitching machines, a pitching area and three tunnels that provide athletes with open space for a variety of drills and activities.
“We want to be the hub of baseball in Hollister, and that facility is big deal for everyone,” Wagle said. “Obviously Hollister is a great sports town, and we see how many athletes they have there. We definitely wanted to build a connection in Hollister and decided to take the plunge (last year), knowing maybe we didn’t have the following there to support a facility financially. But we took steps to grow the future.”
And the future is now. Wagle said participation is up all across the board, whether it’s for drop-in clinics, hitting lessons or renting the facility. Betancourt, who used to co-own Barone’s Baseball before transitioning to Hollister Baseball, said Dub Baseball came at the perfect time to provide a need in a baseball-crazy town such as Hollister.
The demand was enough for Dub Baseball to feature a full slate of summer camps, featuring four different camps five days in length starting June 19. The Dub coaching staff, along with local high school and college players, will impart their experience and knowledge to the attendees.
“This is pretty much the main thing in town,” Betancourt said. “I think it’s good because Erik is always on top of things and motivated to get things done.”
Indeed, Wagle tries not to be a workaholic, often with mixed results. Wagle has put in countless hours to build a quality staff and operation.
“Erik has a real good travel ball system in place, and it can definitely grow and take off even more and keep expanding,” Betancourt said.
Dub Baseball has several competitive traveling teams in the 10 to 18-year-old age divisions. Their 14-and-under team will have at least 10 players from Hollister competing on it this summer, Wagle said. Although winning is important, Dub Baseball differs from a lot of club programs in that it conducts a variety of fundraisers throughout the year to build up funds in their non-profit account, allowing them to bring aboard players who might be priced out of the club sports arena.
“We can accept every single family that want to be part of our family no matter what that is,” Wagle said. “That is extremely unique in the travel base world. It’s something that has been a huge emphasis for me personally, is to never want to turn away a kid because of money.”
In addition, Dub Baseball offers an academics reward program for the players who excel in school, as players receive prizes based on the grades they receive.
“It makes it unique and backs up what we talk about,” Wagle said. “It’s not just about coaching kids—we’re doing things differently and developing a complete baseball player.”