CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Appalachian League announced that Marshall University, in Huntington, W.Va., will host an Appy League team beginning with the 2024 season. Huntington was a member of the Appy League from 1990-1995 and served as a Minor League affiliate for the Chicago Cubs from 1990-94. The new Appy League team will play home games at Marshall’s new baseball stadium, Jack Cook Field, which is scheduled to open for the 2024 spring season and is named after the long-time Marshall baseball coach.
“We are thrilled that the Appy League will be returning to Huntington and looking forward to partnering with Marshall University and the rest of the Huntington community on this new team. Marshall’s new baseball facilities will provide players with one of the best summer collegiate experiences in the country and further our goal of making the Appy League the destination for elite college players in the summer,” said Brian Graham, Executive Director of the Appalachian League.
Under the new Appy League format, the team will have the opportunity to select a name and logo that represent the identity of the local community. Details surrounding the official release of the name and logo will be unveiled at a later date, as will the team’s managers, coaching staff and roster. The team’s roster will feature multiple players from Marshall, including RHP Brady Baxter, LHP Bryce Blevins, SS Jack Smith and RHP Peyton Jackson (Boyd County HS, KY), a Class of 2024 signee, as well as players from other surrounding schools.
“We did a ton of research and wanted what was best for our region, our ballpark and our community. That made the decision to go with the Appalachian League a no-brainer. With the backing of the MLB and their support, we knew this was best for us all!” said Christian Spears, Director of Athletics at Marshall University.
The team’s schedule for its inaugural season was released today as part of the Appy League’s 2024 schedule release. The team’s first game in Huntington will be Tuesday, June 4, 2024, against the Pulaski River Turtles, and they will host the defending Appy League champion Johnson City Doughboys on June 18-19.
"As a proud alumnus of Marshall University, I am thrilled to see the Appalachian League return to Huntington for the 2024 season. The new Jack Cook Field will be a state-of-the-art facility that will attract top talent from all over the country. I am confident that the Appy League will see incredible success in Huntington, and I can't wait to see the first pitch thrown in 2024!" - Gov. Jim Justice
“Next year starts a new chapter for West Virginia’s sports heritage with the opening of the new baseball stadium in Huntington. This new team will utilize it to the benefit of baseball fans all across the region. I am thrilled families will have the ability to enjoy Appy League baseball next summer and can’t wait to see a game there!” - Sen. Shelley Moore Capito
“This is an exciting announcement for our community as we bring the Appalachian League back to Huntington. The Appy League will be a valuable addition to the region as the team will provide family-friendly entertainment, new economic opportunities for Main Street businesses and a sense of pride for hometown residents. I look forward to catching a game during their inaugural season!” – Sen. Joe Manchin
“It is exciting to know that families will be gathering together to experience the joys of baseball once again in Huntington, West Virginia and at a brand new ballpark! I look forward to the future economic impact the Appalachian League team will make on our Huntington community and applaud all the volunteers and investors who played a role in making this happen. I am excited to attend a game with my grandchildren soon.” - Rep. Carol D. Miller
Founded in 1911, the Appalachian League is one of the longest-running baseball leagues in baseball history and recently completed its third season as a collegiate summer baseball league in partnership with MLB and USA Baseball. The Appy League is the only collegiate summer league under MLB and USA Baseball’s Prospect Development Pipeline (“PDP”) and is an integral part of the identification and development process for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Teams and other future National teams. The league plays a 48-game schedule and is comprised of ten teams from West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.