RailRiders Give Little Leaguers a Ballpark Overhaul

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SCRANTON -- When the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders are on the road, the team's grounds crew gets antsy. Wednesday they brought all their big league equipment to a Little League field in Scranton.

Steve Horne is the man responsible for making sure the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders have perfect playing conditions. But, he treats every field the same even if it's on a much smaller scale.

"That's the only way I know how to do it, it's giving back to the community, and it's making everything just as if I worked here," Horne said.

With the same precision, care, and top notch equipment they use at PNC Field, the RailRiders staff worked to bring a big league touch to the Marvine Dutch Gap Little League softball field.

The work is part of the RailRiders' "Adopt a Field" Program. While the team is on the road, the staff will fix up four youth baseball fields in Lackawanna County using the team's equipment and some donated materials.

One of the things the RailRiders are doing is adding a product that's on every major league field in the country. It helps control moisture in the dirt making it safer for the kids who play there.

The softball players were in school, but their parents and volunteers for the league stopped to watch their old field transformed.

"A lot of guys put time into it, but nothing like this. I mean, the tractors that they brought out, the equipment they have we don't have. So, we would never be able to do this," said the league's president, Tanya Hazelton.

The RailRiders staff spent most of the day getting the field up to National Little League standards, designing a new pitcher's mound, and treating the grass so it looks like a miniature Major League field.

"I'd love to be able to see the kids' faces when they see what it looked like before and when they come play their first game here the next time," said RailRiders General Manager Rob Crain.

The RailRiders plan to fix up three more ball fields in Lackawanna County before the end of the season.