The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

August 20, 2013

Getting national respect

W.Va. Miners come in No. 15 in final summer rankings

BECKLEY — The word on the West Virginia Miners keeps getting out.

A week after they won their second straight Prospect League championship, the Miners were ranked 15th in the nation by Perfect Game in its final ranking of summer college wood bat teams. They finished last season ranked seventh after posting a 40-win season and winning the title in their third year of existence.

“I think anytime you get in the top 25, that’s pretty good,” Miners manager Tim Epling said. “Anything (worse than 15th) would have been a disappointment, but I thought that was fair.”

Epling said he and other summer managers across the country are contacted by Perfect Game writer Allan Simpson, who also is the founder of Baseball America.

“Allan does a good job with Perfect Game,” Epling said. “He gets a lot of information from players and coaches and really puts his mind into it. He doesn’t just throw numbers out there.”

Tuesday’s final ranking is further testament to the level the Miners have reached in a short time. They have not missed the postseason in their first four years, compiling a league-best 8-2 record in the playoffs. That includes a seven-game winning streak — three games in 2012 and four this year.

“We were in the top 30 our second year and have been able to get better than that the next two years,” Epling said.

The effect the immediate success has had on the program is evident in its recruiting. When the team started in 2010, Epling and Co. had to go out and find players. Now, the word is out on the Miners, and college coaches are calling them to get their players on the roster.

“I’ve already had calls today from coaches wanting us to come and see their players,” Epling said. “Our first two years, we had to call coaches and hope we would get good, quality players who are able to establish themselves. Now, we’re at the point where coaches call us for their players to be part of the team. We can be kind of selective. I can let the coaches know what we are looking for.

“That’s the tough part is the evaluation process. You can look at a player today and he can be lights-out, but consistency is what you are looking for. That’s the tough part. I have to figure out if they are able to handle the day-in, day-out grind of a professionall baseball (type) schedule. This is the closest thing to it, and it comes as a shock to them.”

This year was a perfect example of that. When the Miners beat the Quincy Gems for the league championship last week, both teams were down to 18 players. Many players returned home, because they were unable to handle the grind.

“We had a very, very good team, but some players melted,” Epling said. “A pro scout will see that and say, ‘Look, if you are not able to handle (the summer travel), there’s no way you’re going to be able to handle professional baseball and all the pressure.”

After standing at 12-12 on June 25, West Virginia went 26-10 the rest of the regular season. That included a 10-game winning streak that helped the Miners take first place in the East Division by July 1, a position they never relinquished.

The Danville Dans, regular season champs in the West Division, finished 19th. Quincy also received ranking consideration.

The Brazos Valley Bombers, who won the Texas Collegiate League championship, finished the year at No. 1.

The Cape Cod League had five teams in the top 25.

— On the Internet:

perfectgame.org

1
Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 042014 old white Happy birthday to The Old White

    As Greenbrier owner Jim Justice proudly stood behind the podium on the first tee box addressing a crowd at the 100th anniversary of the historic Old White TPC Course, a surprise guest emerged from the bushes by the tennis center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 bubba Watson becoming a West Virginian

    Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was glued to the television a week ago today, watching Bubba Watson try to chase down his second green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 spartans LOCAL ROUNDUP: Spartans win Spring Break Wooden Bat Classic

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • St. Joe’s Lewis named 2014 High School Coach of the Year

    Huntington St. Joseph girls basketball coach Shannon Lewis has made a habit of celebrating success in Charleston over the last few years.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 old white Old White to celebrate 100 years

    The home of The Greenbrier Classic will be having a birthday today, and the celebration should be something special.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mullens, Pineville to meet in Anderson Memorial

    After many years away from the sideline, legendary Mullens High School coach Don Nuckols is returning to the game of basketball.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 D'Antoni Lakers mum on D’Antoni

    Mike D’Antoni was still the Los Angeles Lakers’ coach when he left their training complex to spend the Easter weekend out of town with his family.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 gibby WVU trying to find speed on defense

    Tony Gibson took over as West Virginia’s new defensive coordinator over the winter with the goal of trying not to do too much to rock the boat. As the fourth coach to hold that spot in as many years, the Van native — in his second stint as a Mountaineer assistant — knew that his players needed some stability.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814 Sisler Diamond Classic continues today

    Fayetteville pitcher Kaitlyn Sisler pitched five innings of shutout softball as the Pirates beat Oak Hill 10-0 Wednesday in the Diamond Classic in Fayetteville.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni’s Lakers future still unclear

    With the Los Angeles Lakers season officially over — the Lakers beat the Spurs 113-100 Wednesday but finished 27-55 overall, the most losses in the club’s history and the franchise’s worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1957-58 — Marshall fans will be keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Tinsel Town over the coming days.

    April 17, 2014