SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. (WKBN) – London is trading in soccer balls for baseballs this weekend as the first ever MLB regular season series will be played over in England at West Ham’s London Stadium.
Believe it or not, there will be some Valley flare at that game. Every pitch thrown from the mound, every batter that steps in the batter’s box and every ground ball fielded will be played on a surface that is made right here in Slippery Rock.
“It’s a thrill,” said Slippery Rock native and President of DuraEdge Grant McKnight.
It started as a passion project for McKnight, finding the perfect combination of materials to make the best baseball surfaces in the country.
“I really focused on the soil science of it,” said McKnight.
Twenty-five teams from across Major League Baseball use DuraEdge products, not to mention countless other minor league teams, college, high school and Little League, including at Bob Cene Park in Struthers.
“I feel proud to be involved, very same thing you feel to be involved in a game like London,” McKnight said.
“You are taking care of something [that] someone put a lot of energy into. You have been trusted in being a person they rely on, that their player safety and fan safety, and they want your expertise.”
The company sent over 340 tons of clay across the Atlantic to London Stadium.
It isn’t the first time the company has completed international jobs, either.
It has helped with ballparks in Mexico, the Netherlands, Japan, and coming soon, Russia.
“I am proud for all our employees, proud for the guys at our plant in Slippery Rock that made this stuff. It is amazing. Can’t wait to see it on TV. I am looking forward to it,” McKnight said.
You can get a first look at the field Saturday on Fox Youngstown with the first pitch between the Yankees and Red Sox slated for 1:10 p.m.