June 23, 2019
At Headfirst Honor Roll Camps, we always love to hear about the success of our alumni both at the college level and in their post-graduate careers. We previously wrote about one of our alumni – Zach Kurtz – who took a unique path to play baseball at the University of Richmond and was the opening day starter at second base in 2017. After graduating from Richmond this past December, Zach found a unique way to start his post-graduate career while staying involved in baseball: by launching his own baseball bat company.
Zach started LV Lumber Bat Company this past December after he and his business partners lost a close friend, Landon Vargas, to pediatric cancer at the age of 9. To help keep Landon’s spirit alive and help other kids with pediatric cancer, LV Lumber donates 25% of all profits to childhood cancer related causes. You can click here to read more about Landon’s story and the mission that drives LV Lumber.
Read more below to hear about Zach’s journey in the recruiting process and at the college level, as well as the work he is doing with LV Lumber – including a special discount for members of the Headfirst family to use at LV Lumber.
What do you know now about the high-academic recruiting process that you wish you knew when you were going through the recruiting process?
Looking back on it, I think a lot of students, myself included, didn’t realize how important it was to speak to as many coaches as possible. All of the coaches you speak with are also speaking to many similar players like yourselves and it is really important to keep all of your options open in case something falls through. That is where Headfirst does such a great job stimulating an interactive environment which allows players to feel extremely comfortable conversing with coaches and enabling players with an opportunity to speak with and get to know numerous coaches. The other key point I would highlight is to not let your academic performance not be of your best work and thus get in the way of playing at a high-academic school. I have heard a myriad of stories from friends and former teammates about players who finally receive the interest from a coach at a school they are extremely excited about, only to find out that their grades are not good enough to get them in. Instead of being the kid on the border of potentially getting into a school, be that kid that has focused enough on his academic work that if any coach shows interest, the coach has no issue bringing your name up to the admissions team.
What impact did Headfirst Honor Roll Camps have on your recruiting process? What lessons did you learn that helped you later on in your recruiting process?
Headfirst Honor Roll Camps had a tremendous impact on my recruiting process. All of the schools I was most interested in at the time were attending the camp that weekend. It provided me an opportunity to not only play in front of them, but also a interactive environment in which I could speak with all of the coaches as well. Headfirst was unlike the other camps I had attended due to the interactive player-coach platform they provided. I ended up attending the University of Richmond because I was seen at a Headfirst camp by their coach. I was able to play in front of the coaches and also interact with them and get to know them personally because of Headfirst. Headfirst taught me that no matter how the game is going, I can control my effort level and to always play hard because someone is always watching
How did your recruiting process compare to your high school or travel ball teammates that were not pursuing a high-academic school?
The high-academic school recruiting process is much different than your typical baseball recruiting process. Not only do you have to focus on baseball and training as hard as possible to be the best player you can be, but you also need to diligently focus on your work in the classroom. It adds another level of complexity to the recruiting process not only because it is necessary to perform well on and off the field, but also because there are only so many schools that every high-academic baseball player is gunning for, thus making the recruiting process even more difficult.
What was the biggest shock/hardest adjustment during your freshman year?
The advice I would give is to just keep working hard in the classroom and on your game. Don’t put too much stress on yourself throughout the process because in the end, whether its through baseball or not, you will find a school that fits you and that you are extremely excited about attending
What is the best piece(s) of advice that you would give current high school student-athletes looking to play at a high-academic school?
Don’t be shy with the coaches, and be outgoing and friendly to everyone because you never know where you may end up. Always give your best effort, and it’s okay if you strike out or make an error. What matters is your energy, effort and composure on the field.
Tell us a little bit about the work you are doing with LV Lumber Bat Company.
We started LV Lumber Bat Company this past December after working on it for the past few years. I wanted to find a way to stay involved in baseball beyond my playing career and use everything I have learned on and off the field through baseball in a business setting. LV Lumber was mainly started because the founding partners and myself have been deeply affected by pediatric cancer and want to help improve the lives of kids going through this difficult battle, one that no young kid should be forced to endure. Landon Vargas, of whom the company is named after, was a great kid that I was extremely close with and was diagnosed on his fourth birthday with a very rare form of pediatric cancer. Landon battled the disease bravely and valiantly. He fought like a champion until the very end, but eventually lost his five year struggle, nine days after his ninth birthday. We created this company to spread awareness about Landon and to keep his name in our thoughts and prayers – because of this, we donate 25% of our profits to childhood cancer related causes (read more about Landon at Our Inspiration).
The other reason we wanted to start this company is that through playing all my life, we have learned about the inconsistent quality of bats, even among top bat manufacturers and we provide a consistently top quality premier wood bat, using MLB quality wood. We would love to have the Headfirst community on board our mission to fight pediatric cancer! Because of the impact Headfirst has had on my life and how much we appreciate the mission, we want to offer anyone in the headfirst community $35 off any bat purchased and free shipping with the code: HeadfirstHR2019.
Below are a few photos of Landon and some of the bats that Zach and LV Lumber team have been working on. For more information or to view more of their bats, please visit lvlumberbats.com. Keep up the great work, Zach!