Excel Baseball Academy was opened in the fall of 2003 by Matthew Maniscalco and Josh Beshears following their respective college baseball careers and their first professional seasons. Maniscalco graduated from Mississippi State before playing with the Tampa Bay Rays organization, and Beshears graduated from Berry College before playing professionally with the Kalamazoo Kings.
Excel’s first facility was a 2,100 square foot building located on Barry Street in Oxford. It was there that Beshears and Maniscalco’s goal of training aspiring players through first-class professional instruction came to fruition. The original building featured a sandy dirt mound, holes in the batting cages, and a garage door that had to be opened in order to pitch 60 feet, 6 inches.
Excel closed the first summer while Beshears and Maniscalco went off to play their 2nd seasons of professional baseball and reopened in the fall of 2004 in a new location on Roberts Street. It was then that Steve Gendron, a former teammate of Maniscalco’s at Mississippi State, joined the Excel family. Gendron had just completed his college baseball career at Mississippi State and started his first season with the Florida Marlins organization. Excel would call the Roberts Street location home for almost 6 years, spanning from 2004-2010.
In 2007, Excel began offering year-round instruction after all three instructors retired from professional baseball. In 2008, Excel launched a new branch of the business, Excel Strength, under Gendron’s direction to further develop the athletes’ strength and agility. In the same year, Excel started its first summer showcase team, the Excel Blue Wave, featuring aspiring 17u players from various high schools in central and north Alabama. 14 of the 16 players composing that roster played college baseball, including nine D1 players, five SEC signees and two MLB draft picks. Then in 2009 Excel added a second team, the Excel Blue Sox; and the Excel Blue Rays were added the following summer.
The goal of each Excel team is to expose players to a high level of baseball while teaching them the right way to play the game, showcase players to college and professional scouts, and give them a great experience while preparing them to play at the next level. Excel now carries 9 teams from 12u-17u.
In the spring of 2009, Excel began the plans to move to their current location on Hwy. 78 East in Oxford. After countless hours of planning, construction began on the new facility. In May of 2010, the new 16,000 square foot Excel Baseball Academy was opened.
Since then, Excel has expanded by adding new instructors Ben Tootle (JSU/Minnesota Twins), Chase Whitley (Troy/New York Yankees), Judd Edwards (Louisiana Monroe), Tony Maniscalco (Faulkner), Chad Girodo (Mississippi State/Toronto Blue Jays), Zach Lovvorn (Kansas City Royals), Cole Billingsley (South Alabama/Baltimore Orioles), Jared Brasher (Samford/Washington Nationals), Locke St. John (South Alabama/Texas Rangers), Kyler Deese (Auburn), TJ Dixon (Samford/Minnesota Twins), Will Davis (Samford), Todd McCray (Troy), Thomas Berkery (Mississippi State/Texas Rangers), Wes Henderson (Alabama), Derrick Turner (Marion Military Institute), Alan Smith (Auburn), Dalton Cobb (JSU) and Adam Mims (Atlanta Braves) as well as professional softball instructors. Excel now boasts additional benefits such as team rentals, memberships, showcase events, and more.
The Excel team is excited about the future of the academy and the progression of baseball and softball in the surrounding area. During the past 13+ years, Excel has helped more than 350 students move on to play at the college/professional level, including 40+ drafted or signed to play in MLB.
The staff at Excel would like to thank each of you for making this possible through your membership, dedication and support.