Student Thrown Curveball Hits It Out of the Park

Kent State entrepreneurship major turns softball passion into entrepreneurial venture

Senior entrepreneurship major Meg Gidley has loved softball since she was three years old. She spent hours and days participating in travel and local leagues As she got older, she started coaching. It was in her blood.

Then, the news came. Injuries and doctor recommendations sidelined her softball playing career by the time she got to college.  

In 2022, she was approached about putting her softball knowledge to use.  

“This was not something I expected to happen. I was asked to lead a ‘coaching the coaches' seminar in pitching,” Gidley said. “This was to show coaches different drills to do with their athletes to help improve their pitching.”

Sure, she thought. If she couldn’t play, she could put that experience to good use.

“Then, at the end,” Gidley said, “I had several of the coaches come up to me and say, ‘We aren’t going to remember any of this, or demonstrate it as well as you can. Are you willing to teach our kids?’”

This simple question started changing the course of her academic and career paths, but she didn’t know it at the time. Gidley at first thought giving lessons would be a part-time endeavor.

But as time passed, she realized this was exactly what she was working toward with her degree. Combining her extensive sports experience with her entrepreneurship classes, led her to create her own business: Blazing Bats.

Meg Gidley of Blazing Bats

Gidley transferred to Kent State University in the fall of 2022. Before coming to Kent State, she already had a social media platform for her business. However, it was not getting the attention she had hoped for. Thanks to the high-quality academics in the Ambassador Crawford College of Business at Kent State, she learned how to optimize her social media platforms and noticed a large increase in activity.  

Looking back, Gidley gives the university credit for the tools that have helped her grow her business.

“I have been at Kent State for almost one and a half years and have enjoyed every minute that I've been here,” Gidley stated. “From the welcoming environment to the supportive staff who have pushed me to be my best self, I've truly been able to take my career and Blazing Bats to the next level while at Kent State.”  

Currently, Blazing Bats offers private, group and team lessons and large group camps. She currently has about 15 private lesson clients. Her larger camp in the summer hosts about 60-70 kids, while her smaller camps host around 15-20 kids. On top of that, Gidley also created and runs a 19A fast-pitch league for adults and coaches.

She was impacted the most by the “Speakers in Entrepreneurship” class. She took full advantage of the lessons and reached out to entrepreneurs mentioned during the course for further discussion and help outside of class. She was able to create connections and network, greatly benefiting her business.  

“I could not be happier with where I am now,” Gidley said. “Even though I do not actively play anymore, it is extremely rewarding to teach other girls the knowledge I know about the game and be able to give them the opportunities that I had as a player.”

Recently Gidley received a unique offer to move her company to a new building in Painesville, Ohio, and became a facility manager, further expanding her business.

“The new facility will begin a soft launch in the coming weeks,” Gidley said. “Once it is up and running, I will be hosting camps there and hiring local athletes to help me coach.”  

Learn more about entrepreneurship at the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship.

Learn more about Blazing Bats.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 24, 2024 12:46 PM
Updated: Wednesday, April 24, 2024 02:27 PM
Kenzee Johnston, ACCBE; Luke Trupo, Flash Communications