Tim Epling has long sought to improve the baseball ecosystem in the southern part of the state.
From helping bring the Prospect League to Beckley to crafting leagues that aim at the development of middle and high school aged kids, he’s done his fair share for the sport.
Now he’s taking it a step further.
On Oct. 23 Epling will be hosting an event at Linda K. Epling Stadium in which junior and senior high school baseball players in southern West Virginia will have the opportunity to play against college players.
“We have solicited high school players from all over the state,” Epling said. “At least the southern part. Players that are seniors and juniors, we’re going to bring them all together and I’ve got Alice Lloyd coming in and I’m waiting to hear from another college that might come in. We’re going to play two or three games based on how many participants we have to give these kids a little bit of an idea of what it’s like and that’ll challenge them a little bit.”
“From that, it’s going to be able to open doors for them to possibly get recruited by colleges because we’re putting in our recruiting network in conjunction with the West Virginia Miners because we’re connected with colleges all across the country. We can open up doors for a lot of these kids, so that’s what this particular event is for.”
The idea for the showcase didn’t just occur overnight. It’s something Epling’s thought about for awhile.
“It’s something I’ve thought about for two years,” Epling said. “I’ve always wanted to do something to help get exposure for the high school kids that they’re not getting. I’m not against recruiting services, but a lot of them and the kids don’t really understand what it takes. The recruiting process has changed so much with the transfer portal and it’s changed the dynamics of recruiting. A lot of the high school kids think they’re going to get recruited because of this or that and it’s not that easy anymore. There were 3,200 players in the transfer portal this past summer.”
The showcase is a part of a grander plan Epling has in store for the area and youth baseball leagues.
“In the near future we’ll have a few things going on,” Epling said. “We’ll have a West Virginia Miners scout team and that’s where we’re going to be taking teams and players and getting them the exposure they’re wanting.”
Amongst the developments Epling’s excited to announce is a partnership with RBI baseball and the MLB, something he hopes to have more details on in the coming week.
“We’ve now been approved to do our youth program with the MLB and RBI Baseball,” Epling said. “So it’s an MLB youth program and with that it’s more about development and getting exposure for these kids. And so it’s going to change the whole dynamic of baseball in the southern part of the state. We’re getting ready to roll that program out and start leaking that out soon. It’s going to be very exciting for people that have desires to prepare themselves for college or hopefully even past college.”
Those hoping to register for the Oct. 23 showcase can do so here.
There is a $10 registration fee for interested players.
For more information, call 304-252-7233.