2024 Coppinger Invitational set to begin April 12

Mar. 30—BLUEFIELD — The four seasons may come and go but baseball season and the Coppinger Tournament keep rolling along.

The 50th annual Coppinger event is set for April 12 using the historic venues of Bowen Field in Bluefield and Princeton's Hunnicutt Field.

"This is always an exciting time of the year, working with the Coppinger," says director Justin Gilbert.

"As what is known as the oldest continuously held baseball tournament in West Virginia and the rich tradition attached to it, the Coppinger has truly a gold-standard for high school baseball across the decades. We look forward to 2024 upholding that great tradition of competition here in southern West Virginia and southwest Virginia."

Gilbert, now Bluefield High assistant principal, played in the event during his prep days at Graham High and later coached as leader of the Bluefield Beavers.

He became director when the late Jeff Boyles decided to step away from full-time Coppinger activities.

A Who's Who of players and coaches in area history have also taken part since the event, named in honor of local businessman and sportsman Allen D. Coppinger, Sr, was first proposed by the late Bluefield High School coaching legend John Chmara in 1974.

A special highlight of this year's event will feature a member of the Coppinger family to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The '24 field will include eight teams arranged in two pods of four each with all teams being guaranteed four games. Each team will play those in its pod and game outcomes will determine seeding for the final two rounds including the championship session on Saturday, April 20 at Bowen Field.

Pool "A" will feature Bluefield, Graham, Woodrow Wilson (Beckley) and PikeView with defending champion Tazewell, Princeton, Shady Spring and James Monroe in Pod "B".

Scheduled game days alternating between Bowen and Hunnicutt are April 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 19 and 20 with Thursday April 18 as the rain date-make up day.

The Coppinger is sanctioned by both the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission (WVSSAC) and the Virginia High School League (VHSL). The 10-run or "mercy" rule will be in effect throughout the event. Home teams will be determined by coin toss.

The tournament championship team will receive a trophy as will the runner-up. All Tournament Players will receive individual awards and the outstanding player will receive the Jeff Boyles Most Valuable Player Award.