06/14/2012 11:29 am ET Updated Aug 14, 2012

New Bat Maker Takes A Swing At Louisville Sluggers

FORTUNE -- Selling a boutique bat to a famous major league baseball player is about as easy as teaching your great-aunt to hit a low outside slider over the scoreboard. But inside the bowels of PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Mike Gregory, vice president of BWP Bats of Brookville, Pa. is going to give it a whirl.

A few hours before the Pittsburgh Pirates host the Cincinnati Reds in late May, he leans three of his company's shiny maple bats against the locker of Andrew McCutchen, the star Pirates outfielder who uses several other brands. Ordinarily, Gregory wouldn't try to convert the hottest player in the lineup. But McCutchen used BWP bats in the minors, and Gregory knows him. He beams when McCutchen says, "You came at a good time. My bats are snapping like crazy."

"These are good, Andy. This design won't snap as much," says Gregory, who has been customizing the design for months. "It has a smaller barrel," referring to the thick end of the bat.

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