BECKLEY,WV – The West Virginia Tech Golden Bears played a home double-header last week at the new baseball facility that was just built on the edge of Beckley. The new park is named Linda K. Epling Stadium (named after the wife of Mr. Douglas Epling) and it is must see for baseball fans.
The new park will play host to the latest team to join the Prospect League, the West Virginia Miners. The Miners will spend their summers there but the stadium will be host to a number of events the remaining ten months. This was the case last week when King College (Bristol, Tenn.) came to town for a pair of games with Coach Nesselrodt and his Golden Bears.
The amazing thing about the ball park is not the 100% turf field nor the stadium seating for 1,500+ fans or even the jumbo tron that is next to the score board. Is it the majestic view of the mountains at 2,600 feet that gets the nod? Nope- not for me anyway.
It is the message that Mr. Epling placed at the entrance to the facility! The park was 100% financed by the Epling family & friends and done so for the community of Beckley. The private funding allowed the group to send their message of choice for all to see when the enter the ball park. In these troubling times it offers such a ray of hope that someone with the ability to financially carry the burden of building this level of facility do so with the word of God in the bricks of the outer wall!
The Golden Bears played small ball in the eighth inning of a 3-3 tie and plated three runs with just one ball leaving the infield. Grant Williams led off the inning with a walk and Loundon Straughter followed with a bunt single, the first base knock for the home team since the second inning, to set the table. Kevin Bocock was called out by plate umpire after what appeared to be another bunt single to load the bases.
Alex Van Horn followed with a walk to load the bases and then Eric Helton stroked a two run single to give WVT a 5-3 lead. After Ryan Workman followed with another infield single the Golden Bears scored again when Gerardo Caceres hit an RBI ground out. The insurance run proved to be the game winner after SSU’s Kyle Hammontree crushed a 2-run homer in the top of the ninth to trim the lead to 6-5.
West Virginia Tech (9-18) will travel Wednesday for a single game at Bluefield State with the first pitch slated @ 4:00 PM.