Sculpting and sports meet at Lakewood High

An art teacher, who doubles as the baseball coach, uses his sculpting skills to craft a training bat that helps his players become better hitters.



Art teacher Jayce Ganchou uses a drill press to drill a hole into a bat. Ganchou is also the coach for Lakewood High’s baseball team. “In art,” Ganchou said, “you do it, try it, if it doesn’t work, revision.”


The smell of fresh sawdust and smoke fills the air in Room C103. A drill press burrows through maple, creating tufts of smoke.

Jayce Ganchou spends the school day as Lakewood’s 3D Arts teacher, teaching students about the practice of sculpting and painting. But by the end of the day, he takes on a different role.

Ganchou is also the school’s baseball coach. To help the baseball players perfect their hitting, he is using an idea that a former baseball player, Dante Bichette, conjured up. Bichette, who played for Major League Baseball for 14 years and now works for the Toronto Blue Jays, is the father of Bo Bichette, a former Spartan baseball player, who currently plays for the Blue Jays.

Dante Bichette came up with the idea of the String V-Bat, a training device that helps hitters correct their swings and provides a bit of challenge.

“You line it up with the Wiffle balls on the string … (Then) you hit the Wiffle balls down the string,” sophomore baseball player Atticus Huffstutler said. “The hardest part is to get the string between the middle of the bat.”

The bats are made from a variety of materials, from blocks of wood to aluminum bats fitted with the signature V-paddles.

Many of the Spartan baseball players take Ganchou’s art class and understand sculpting first-hand. They get to see the saws and the sanders, create artwork and revise along the way.

“In art,” Ganchou said, “you do it, try it, if it doesn’t work, revision.”

Model 6.0 is Ganchou’s latest version of the bat, which has a similar look and length of a real bat, but with the V down the middle. One of the bats Ganchou made was given to Bo Bichette, himself. This attracted the attention of ABC Action News correspondent Kyle Burger, who interviewed Ganchou on March 23 for a story.

Huffstutler said he thinks the practice bat method is interesting.

“I think it’s cool. The fact that he’s using his art tools to make us better, it’s nice,” he said.

ABC Action News Correspondent Kyle Burger, left, poses for a photo along with art teacher and baseball coach Jayce Ganchou. Burger did a story about Ganchou and the bats he makes. (ARIANNA ALZUPHAR)