PLAINVILLE - The next time you drive down Everett Skinner Road in Plainville, keep your eyes peeled for a giant baseball bat.

Not a bat big enough for Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. This bat would fit comfortably in the hands of Paul Bunyan.

The bat is being carved by chain-saw sculptor "The Machine Jesse Green" for the Plainville Athletic League. He's shaping it out of a 24-foot stump left when the rest of a giant, but dying, red oak tree was cut down at the league's baseball and softball complex.

The sculpture was the brainchild of Chris Murphy, the director of facilities and safety for PAL.

He said that when the league decided the towering tree was becoming a danger to cars and children because of falling limbs, he suggested something creative be done with what was left.

"I thought, 'Instead of turning that tree into a pile of firewood, let's do something neat,' " he said.

Tree Tech in Foxboro was contacted, and the firm agreed to cut down most of the tree for free, saving PAL about $1,200. The cutting crew was at the site Tuesday, trimming the 65-foot-tall tree down to size.

They left a 24-foot stump sticking out of the ground for Green to work with.

Company President Andy Felix said the tree was 80 to 100 years old. It was in bad shape with its root system under stress, so it had to come down.

He said his men spent about three hours cutting down the branches and the top half of the tree.

Green started his work on the stump later in the day.

Murphy said the plan is to have the sculpture finished in time for opening day ceremonies Saturday.

A film crew from the National Geographic network was on site, documenting the process for a future program.

Murphy said the towering bat will become a Plainville landmark that assures visiting teams will remember their trips to town.

"I think it's a fantastic thing for PAL, and it's facilities and for Plainville," he said.

JIM HAND covers Plainville for The Sun Chronicle. He can be reached at 508-236-0399 or at jhand@thesunchronicle.com.

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