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Softball Sisters Change the Game, Add Baseball to the Lineup

Posted at 5:20 PM, Feb 01, 2024

APPLETON (NBC 26) — For many athletes, their sports journeys begin at a young age and last well into their college years. But what happens when the final buzzer sounds and it all comes to an end?

  • Sisters Laura Beyer and Maria Stave turned their passion for softball into a full-time business and are now tackling baseball
  • What once started out of a tiny garage has expanded into a two-location effort with hundreds of success stories

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Baseball is known as "The Great American Pastime," but it's hard to look over it's sister sport: softball.

In Appleton and the Fox Valley, this statement rings truer than ever.

This is 360U, a softball training company created by sisters Laura Beyer and Maria Stave, two former collegiate softball stars.

"There's a whole different side of the sport just beyond the mechanics, so we created 360U to help really develop the 360° version of the athlete," Stave says.

Maria and Laura created 360U back in 2016, running it out of a tiny garage. Now, they have locations in Appleton and in Oshkosh.

The sisters say it's about more than the sport.

"When we started the company, we just found that so many kids were coming in here with just so much pressure and they weren't even necessarily enjoying the game," Beyer states.

"We have instructors who have played at every level and different levels as well. It was an opportunity for us to help the people grow versus the athletes."

Hannah Ritter plays softball at UW-Oshkosh. After more than five years training with 360U, she's now a part-time trainer for them.

"Growing up, I feel like there was a little talk about the mental side of softball and it's importance," said Ritter.

"But I feel like the first time I really had deep conversations with people about it and how softball can really weigh on your mentality was coming here and talking about that."

After eight years of success, Laura and Maria realized their mission couldn't stop at softball.

"So that's why we decided to expand into baseball as well."

Which happens to be a sport I'm familiar with too. So I stepped up [into the cage], took a swing, and, just like the athletes that train with 360U ...

I hit it out of the park.

While training and mentoring is the main focus of 360U, their batting and simulator cages are open for the public to rent. They say it all goes back to their commitment to accessibility for all who are interested.