Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

March 31, 2014

Beavers embark on busy week on the diamond

BLUEFIELD — Real game experience will go a long way toward pulling the Bluefield High baseball team out of its recent slump, according to coach Justin Gilbert.

The Beavers (1-3) will get plenty of that this week.

Three home games in four days at Bowen Field will precede the start of the annual Coppinger Tournament on Friday. Bluefield hosts Fort Chiswell today, Mount View on Wednesday and Greater Beckley Christian on Thursday.

The Beavers face Montcalm in the Coppinger’s opening game on Friday at 5 p.m.

Bluefield began its season on March 20 by banging out 11 hits in a 15-5 five-inning win over Graham. The next three games were losses on the road, including an 8-7 setback on Friday at James Monroe after the Beavers led 7-5 in the bottom of the seventh.

Bluefield led Oak Hill 3-0 after one inning of play on Saturday morning, but trailed 9-4 in the fourth when the game was suspended due to wet conditions on the mound and around home plate.

“We just wanted to get out here and play,” Gilbert said on Saturday. “There’s nothing going to fix it but to get out here and to get more at-bats and get into more learning situations.”

Improving weather, and improved play are in the forecast.

“We’ve had a tough stretch right off the bat here, but we’ve got a week coming up that we’re looking forward to,” he said. “We think it’s a week (in which) we can get ourselves back rolling again.”

The April schedule includes Coppinger games, a swing through East Tennessee, trips to Richlands and Tazewell, and a wooden-bat tournament at Greenbrier West.

Six of Bluefield’s last seven games are at home, loaded with local rivals like Graham, Princeton and PikeView, and a rematch with James Monroe.

Gilbert said he has always believed in putting quality opponents on the schedule.

“They need to be challenged,” he said about his players. “They need to face adversity, because they want to become mentally tough, more than just physically.”

— Contact Tom Bone at

tbone@bdtonline.com

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