Word on the Street: Baseball academy opens in northwest Fresno

Professional trainer Drew Mattos believes in “doing it big.” It’s his personal mantra and the name of the venture he and his two partners — Marcus Walden and Brian Oliver — have launched.

The DIB Baseball Academy and the accompanying DIB Hut is a 7,500-square-foot-training center at 4055 W. Ashcroft Ave. in northwest Fresno. The center is focused on helping young baseball players develop the necessary skills to help them succeed on the diamond and in life.

Mattos is well-known in the local sports community. He is the former coach of the Fresno City College women’s soccer team and has trained numerous athletes, including professional baseball players Matt Garza, Jerome Williams and Garrett Weber. Walden was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft out of Fresno City College and played in the Oakland A’s, Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds organizations. Oliver, who pitched at Fresno Pacific University, also has played several years of professional baseball.

The goal of the academy is to give Fresno something it doesn’t have: A center that teaches athletic skills, conditioning, nutrition, speed, agility and building strength. The center also has space for physical and massage therapy and a classroom.

“We want to help create good, strong and healthy athletes,” Mattos said. “But we also want it to be a place where people have fun.”

Oliver agrees.

“What DIB is to me is a place for kids to learn the game, learn about their body and have a great time growing as baseball players,” Oliver said. “And, more so, grow as amazing people.”

Walden said the Hut features an area that can be separated into five batting cages, two pitching mounds and a place for strength training using a Keiser Functional Trainer and free weights.

Walden also expects professional athletes to use the center to train in the off-season.

The DIB Hut is available for rental by individuals or teams. Particpants can also join the DIB Academy with rates varying depending on usage. A package that includes use of the hut for three nights a week plus one hour of private instruction is $260 a month. The academy is also creating four travel baseball teams for 10, 12, 14 and 16 year olds.

For more information call the DIB Baseball Academy at (559) 277-3368.