CHAPMANVILLE — For most high school baseball athletes when their prep careers are over it’s usually the last time they will play.
Since most do not play either collegiately or professionally it’s the last time they will pick up a baseball and play in an actual game.
But now, there might be another option.
Four Logan County teams are now set to participate in the West Virginia Men’s Senior Baseball League, a wooden bat league for men over the age of 25.
Josh Rakes, a Chapmanville Regional High School assistant coach and a member of the Chapmanville Giants men’s team, said the response has been good.
“We’re going to play a shortened season,” Rakes said. “It’s a wooden bat league and this is baseball, not softball. It’s not going to be officially sanctioned by the West Virginia Senior Men’s Baseball League but we’re going to get started here in the Logan County area and apply the same rules to get some adult men’s baseball going here.”
In addition to the team in Chapmanville, Rakes said there are two Logan area teams forming and another in Man.
“It’s a 25-and-older league but we’re a bit flexible on the age right now,” Rakes said. “With the MSBL, they are strict on the age limitations but we’re just trying to get things going so we can field some teams. The MSBL is a nation-wide organization. Each state has one, or sometimes multiple leagues. In West Virginia, there’s a league in Kanawha County. There’s also one in Clay County.”
Rakes said the local Chapmanville games will be played at Chapmanville’s Ted Ellis Field.
“There will be games at Chapmanville, Man and Logan,” he said. “With Logan, they are debating whether to use the Whitman field or the high school field. The Whitman field is about 290 feet, so it would not be pitcher-friendly for this age group.”
Rakes said most of the participants will be ex-high school players.
“With the Chapmanville roster, we’ve got a nice spread,” he said. “The youngest guy on our team is 25 and the oldest is 39. We’ve got a nice mix of former all-state players. It should be fun.”
Rakes was a member of Coach Ted Ellis’ Class AA state championship team in 1997. He graduated the next year and was also a member of the Tigers’ 2A state runner-up team in ‘98. He went on to play at Marshall University and the University of Charleston.
“The arm feels pretty good. I’ve been playing in the Kanawha County League for the past five years so I’m in decent shape,” Rakes said. “Some of the guys who haven’t played ball in awhile have been practicing for a month or a month in a half.”
Rakes said most of the county games will be held on Sundays.
“There will be a few doubleheaders,” he said. “We’re trying to squeeze nine regular-season games into a five-week period. It’s a condensed version but we’re just trying to get the ball rolling with the league. At the end of the season there will be seedings and we’ll have a tournament.”