Former Red Devil baseball standout Chase Swain playing for West Virginia Miners

Mark Martin
Former Ravenswood baseball standout Chase Swain is spending the summer in the Prospect League with the Beckley-based West Virginia Miners.

Chase Swain is spending part of his summer as a Miner.

A West Virginia Miner baseball player, that is.

In the coal country of Beckley, Swain recently joined the Miner baseball team of 2021. The organization plays in the competitive Prospect League, made up of college players.

Swain got the call to join the team June 15.

He had been working out and doing odd jobs in Ravenswood before leaving home to join his new club in Chillicothe, Ohio.

After pitching the following night, Swain returned to Ravenswood to pack for his stay with one of the Miners’ host families.

But things took a downward spiral.

“I hadn’t been feeling well. My throat was really sore,” Swain said.

His mother, Trinity, took him to Jackson General Hospital’s ER.

Severely dehydrated, Swain was diagnosed with mono. To make matters worse and more serious was the fact his kidneys were shutting down.

Swain remained at the hospital until 6 p.m. the following evening.

Fortunately, he battled through it and is now getting back to his old self.

“I’ve been drinking plenty of water and Gatorade,” Swain said.

And since the setback, Swain has been doing what he loves by playing against high-level baseball players.

While he was initially signed by GM/team manager Tim Epling and assistant A.B. Brown to serve as a pitcher, Swain has also gotten the chance to play third base, first base and see time in the designated hitter spot.

He’s made several relief appearances. The most he’s pitched in one game is four innings. 

Swain says the experience has been a blessing and will be beneficial when he plays next spring at Glenville State College, where he will be a junior.

“This pitching (in the league) I’ve seen is going to help me out,” said Swain, a First Team All-Stater at Ravenswood, where he graduated in 2018. “I’m seeing 85 and 90 miles per hour per game (from opposing pitchers). The other night I faced a lefty who threw 90. Since I’m lefthanded, that was a hard matchup for me. He was throwing in on my hands. But again, it’s going to be good when I head back (to Glenville).”

As a redshirt-sophomore this past season at GSC, Swain, who is listed as a pitcher and infielder for the Pioneer program, spent most of his time on the mound.

He pitched nine and a third innings for the Pioneers. He struck out 11 batters and walked eight while giving up 10 hits.

Swain finished with an ERA of 5.79. He had one start on the season.

His goal heading into next year will be to both pitch and play in the field along with getting plenty of at-bats.

When the Miners aren't on the road, Swain lives with the Mcmanaway family (Corey and Jenna) in Fayetteville.

"They spoil me. Anything in the refrigerator is mine," he said. "They cook for me, breakfast lunch and dinner."

He said the Miners run a first-class operation.

"They feed us after every game and in between games of doubleheaders," Swain said. "They wash our uniforms after every game."

The Prospect League was founded in 1963. All players in the league must have NCAA eligibility remaining. The league consists of 16 teams, who play a 60-game schedule (30 at home and 30 on the road).

Besides the Miners and Chillicothe, the league’s other teams are located in Springfield, Ohio, Johnstown, Pa., Danville, Ill., Peru, Ill., Layfayette, Ind., Terre Haute, Ind., Burlington, Iowa, Clinton, Iowa, Normal, Ill., Quincy, Ill., Alton, Ill., Cape Girardeau, Mo., O’Fall, Mo., and Springfield, Mo.

Swain said he feels right at home with the team but thinks about home often by calling both of his parents, who have been so supportive through the years in his athletic endeavors.

His father, Wes, is Ravenswood High School's head baseball coach and athletic director.

He said it's a plus to have a father who is a coach.

"It means a lot. After all the games I'm calling him to talk," he said. "We always would talk on the way home from games when he was coaching me. So, this is pretty good."

And being a West Virginia Miner this summer is a great opportunity for one of Ravenswood's all-time best in Chase Swain.