Making gloves for Barbe's baseball team is a 'labor of love' - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Making gloves for Barbe's baseball team is a 'labor of love'

Walt Nolen, co-founder of Innovetx (Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC) Walt Nolen, co-founder of Innovetx (Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
Walt Nolen, co-founder of Innovetx (Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC) Walt Nolen, co-founder of Innovetx (Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

When it comes to the game, Walt Nolen knows everything about baseball. He even played for the Cubs.

But after his career, he returned to Lake Charles to work in the plants, eventually realizing something was missing.

Nolen wanted to continue working in baseball, so he decided to start a glove-making business called Innovetx. His goal was to create high-end gloves, but at a lower price for area schools, like Barbe, where he played many years ago.

When it comes to baseball, Walt Nolen is a pro, literally.

"Right after high school I had an opportunity to play at McNeese State, and played there for four years, and then played 5 years professional baseball with the Cubs," said Nolen, who's a co-founder of Innovetx.

Like many athletes, Nolen wanted to continue working in the game. So, in 2010 he decided to try making baseball gloves.

"You don't see many brands that start out in towns such as Lake Charles. We wanted to try to do something a little bit different down here," explained Nolen.

Nolen says they design the templates themselves, utilizing manufacturing companies in Southeast Asia and Boston. But instead of mass producing, they made gloves for their very own home team.

For the Barbe baseball team, gloves are not just equipment. Not only are they essential to the game, they're also personal.

"Coach Barrett introduced me to it last year. Right when he introduced it to me, I went for it and it's been great ever since," said Buc's centerfield Garret Williams.

Innovetx makes traditional gloves, but they're unique because they can also customize them with your team logo and color.

Braedon Barrett, Barbe's third basemen says, "I love the color gray, comes out well on navy blue."

The team's even nicknamed the brand, the "X" gloves.

"The players really like them, they're custom made, and they feel like they're top of the line gloves," said Glenn Cecchini, Barbe's head coach.

While Cecchini had nothing but good things to say about the gloves, he also tips his hat to Nolen.

"It's more than just winning games or championships. We want our guys, Erica, to be good husbands, good fathers, good role models, good business men, so he truly exemplifies the true meaning of the student athlete," added Cecchini.

For Nolen, giving back to the team he once played for feels great.

"A lot of the things we've done with Barbe, the kids have been really excited about, so it's been good for us and hopefully good for them," said Nolen.

And with everything that goes into making a 32-piece glove, which Nolen says takes 72 minutes start to finish, it's a labor of love legacy he hopes to leave behind.

"And I'm hoping at one point someone will pass down our gloves to their kids," said Nolen, starting with his own.

Innovetx has made gloves for about a hundred high school teams, 30 universities and even the MLB.

For more in Innovetx: http://www.innovetx.com/

https://www.facebook.com/innovetx

Copyright 2014 KPLC. All rights reserved.

• • • •

A special Barbe baseball page has been set up online at http://bit.ly/1orXtfT. The page includes video from KPLC's Sports Special on the Bucs, a list of former Barbe players who made it to the pros, the schedule for the state tournament, Barbe's playoff history as well as links to the Barbe baseball Facebook page and Twitter feed.

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