The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

August 14, 2013

Champions — again

The Register-Herald

— It’s quickly becoming a tradition.

Today, we celebrate yet another championship season for our West Virginia Miners baseball team.

In their three seasons of existence, the Miners have three East Division titles and two Prospect League championship trophies.

That is a remarkable accomplishment, to come in to a premier collegiate summer baseball league and instantly become the standard by which other franchises look to.

Yet it has happened, thanks to the Epling family and their commitment to bringing entertainment and highly competitive baseball to southern West Virginia.

From late May to mid-August, there is always something exciting going on at Linda K. Epling Stadium.

The beautiful ballpark on Ragland Road is a top notch baseball facility.

No other evidence is needed than when the state’s two Division I institutions — WVU and Marshall — have each made it common to play some of their home series’ on the turf at “The K” each season. And this year, a match-up of the two squads going head-to-head — Mountaineers vs. Thundering Herd was played in our own backyard.

That is a big deal.

For the Miners, recruiting and building a championship club is a difficult task, but one that has reaped great benefits.

The players on the 2013 Miners roster come from universities and colleges from West Virginia, Nebraska, Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, California and Hawaii.

But for a season — they are West Virginia Miners. And now, for a lifetime, they’re champions.

Beckley and the southern West Virginia region has a real asset in the West Virginia Miners ball club.

Not only does the team provide our area with good, wholesome entertainment for about three months over the summer, but it does so with a degree of excellence both on and off the field that is extraordinarily special. While the Prospect League is not a professional league and not affiliated with Major League Baseball like minor league teams spread across the nation, the organization conducts its business as if it were — at a highly professional rate.

The college-aged student-athletes that play for the Miners must go back to their respective college teams after spending the summer in Beckley.

Our hope is that these young men leave with an amazing experience of living with host families and working in West Virginia, having tasted the hospitality and warmth of our people and lasting memories of their championship season in Beckley. They’ve certainly given us some great memories.

Way to go Miners!