This past spring, I remember working at my previous job and standing in an aisle helping a customer when all of a sudden a phone began ringing. What I heard was no ordinary ringtone. It was AC/DC's Thunderstruck. Words cannot describe how hearing this song made me feel after enduring months of freezing weather and snow. Any Chicago baseball fan would quickly identify that song with the Chicago White Sox.

This song would serve as a reminder that warmer weather wasn't too far off. That days would be getting longer. That baseball, finally, was about to start.

But, alas, all good things come to an end. With the World Series behind us, baseball is officially over for the season. To me, the end of baseball always signified the true end of summer. Sure, the cold weather is plenty of a reminder that summer is long gone, but the end of baseball means everything brought with it is gone, too.

In the midst of my sadness, a recent tour at the local baseball bat company served as the perfect substitute to watching the bats being swung (especially since it was inside a heated building).

Hoosier Bat, located in Valparaiso, is quickly making a name for its self among minor and major league players. With bats made from ash or the patented three-piece, Hoosier Bat boasts a baseball bat built to each player's personal size, weight, age and strength specifications.

The company offers free tours of their factory. Visitors can watch a weight-specified hunk of wood transformed into a standard-approved baseball bat all while being educated about the process.

The wood starts off as what looks like a 4" circular post. It is then placed in a machine that turns out a raw bat, ready for sanding.

The tour guide then led us to the sanding station, where the bat became smooth and ready for its finishing.

Now, the finishing room itself is what really took me by surprise (more so than the strong smell of lacquer). The room has something similar to that of a dry-cleaner, with a track moving the bats along as they are being dipped and hung to dry. Also inside this room are the variety of colors and the finishes Hoosier Bat uses.

After all is said and done, a baseball bat is born, ready to blast baseballs out of the ballpark.

If you're interested in a tour, call 219-531-1006, as tours are by appointment only. Find more on Hoosier Bat.

Contributing Editor: Stacina Stagner
Former communications coordinator with the South Shore CVA.