DeVault Memorial Stadium
Review by Gary
Since its construction in 1969, every pro baseball team that has played at Boyce Cox Field at Devault Memorial Stadium has been operated by a non-profit organization, Bristol Baseball Incorporated (BBI), formed to promote baseball in the town. Relying on a volunteer board and general manager, the ballpark’s current Appalachian League inhabitants, the Bristol State Liners, entertain fans when the town’s Virginia High School Bearcats aren’t on the field.
The stadium is named after the president of the Appalachian League from 1957 until 1980. The field itself was named after a local executive who saved the franchise in Bristol after years of low attendance. The State Liners take their name from the fact that the state line between Virginia and Tennessee runs right down the center of aptly-named State Street.
Fans must access the stadium via a sinuous 400-foot path past either a little league field in one direction or a football stadium in the other. The ballpark sits in a row of sporting venues with the near endzone of the football stadium butting right up against Devault’s first base bleachers.
The ballfield sits at a lower grade than the roads and land around it, affording passersby the chance to catch the game from outside the stadium. In addition to a sloped grass berm, the grandstand has a long concrete bleacher section that runs the length of the third base line. Fans can opt to sit in individual seats close to the action by traversing wooden foot bridges to these sections. The press box/team office sits on the top floor of a separate building above the first-floor concession stands, separated from the grandstands by a wide sloped concourse.
In 2022, the team received a snazzy new scoreboard, complete with the high school name and team colors, making it clear who the main occupant is. A great monument to Ron Necciai sits just before the entrance of the stadium, commemorating his feat of striking out 27 batters while pitching a no-hitter at a ballfield nearby in 1952. Devault Stadium fits the bill perfectly for an Appalachian League ballpark. It’s nestled in a quaint town off of Interstate 81, in the birthplace of country music.