CofC's 'Natural' makes his own bats

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The goal of most college baseball players is making money in the game they love when they graduate, but one College of Charleston player already is.

He's not a professional, but his head start on a career in baseball is really a hit.

"I've never seen the movie, heard people call me 'The Natural,' though," said Erven Roper.

"I got to try and educate these guys on the history of great baseball players and movies. The fact he hasn't seen 'The Natural' is a little disappointing," said Monte Lee, the Cougars' head coach.

It's not Lee is a big movie buff, but the comparisons between Roper and legendary movie character Roy Hobbs are quite natural.

"Erven is a weird bird. No. 1, he catches; No. 2, he makes his own bats. Anyone that has the hobby of making bats really shows how much he loves the game of baseball," said Lee. "They're pretty good wooden bats, as well."

The character in the movie had his homemade bade -- Wonderboy. Roper is way beyond that.

"I've been doing it for six years. I learned that my dad had a machine to make them. I was bored one summer, saw my dad had the machine to make it, so I started making them," said Roper.

"It took me six days to make my first. Now I can do them in 30 minutes."

He's got a company and has sold 200 of them. They've been gifts as well. Lee's fungo bat is a Roper even.

"It starts as a dowel, like a big pool stick 2-3/4 inches in diameter. I start the process, learn weight, diameter, size of the barrel. Then I keep going, sand it after finished, bone rub it like Marucci does, then flame temper it to seal up the grains," Roper said.

They might not be the Wonderboy, but they work, a solid stick truly manufacturer tested and approved.

"I've hit with them all last year, the past three years. They hit great. I used them in the East Cobb World Championship. I went 3-for-4 with one, so they work good," he said.

He'll be well set for a career after metal bat college ball, whether on or off the field.

Roper's bats are on sale on his website,