Jack Barry remembers being 4 years old and sitting atop his father’s shoulders at Camden Yards.
That little boy, now a standout infielder at Salisbury University, soaked in the big league experience.
And then a man, a future Hall-of-Fame shortstop, walked toward him.
Nope – not that Hall-of-Fame shortstop.
Barry watched as New York Yankees’ superstar Derek Jeter signed a baseball for his parents. Barry admits he was intimidated in the presence of the player that would become his idol.
“I was actually scared of him at first,” Barry said of Jeter. “He was wearing reflective sunglasses, and when I saw my reflection in his glasses, I got freaked out.”
Barry, a Laurel native and son of two Yankee fans, often made the short drive to Baltimore during his youth to watch Major League Baseball.
As a toddler, though, Barry spent most of his time in his front yard swinging a mini golf club before making the transition to a baseball bat.
“I was always swinging something,” Barry said. “I always wanted to go outside to hit and throw.”
Barry’s father built a pitcher’s mound in the family’s front yard where an old tree stump once stood.
“I would go out there and pitch to him for hours on end, and then we’d go hit in the garage,” Barry said.
Before he became an all-conference third baseman at Salisbury, Barry helped lead Reservoir High School to a 3A state championship in 2014.
Barry admits he had Division 1 aspirations coming out of high school and had a strong interest in the College of William & Mary. However, Barry’s D1 dreams were dashed when William & Mary signed another third baseman.
The Sea Gulls’ tradition of winning on the Division 3 level, which includes 23 NCAA tournament appearances, intrigued Barry. He became less worried about being labeled as a Division 1 athlete and instead bought what head coach Troy Brohawn and associate head coach Ron Siers were selling: A chance to win against talented competition.
“As I got further into the recruiting process, I talked to Coach Brohawn and Coach Siers and they really stressed to me that the competitive aspect of the game is what I should be pursuing,” Barry said.
Barry’s desire to go to a school that really wanted him cemented his decision. In turn, Brohawn knew he was getting a high-energy, hardworking player in Barry.
“You could tell he had a passion for the game,” Brohawn said. “And that’s something we really look for here at this program.”
Upon his arrival on campus, Barry was reacquainted with Archbishop Curley graduate and current Salisbury southpaw, A.J. Korczynski. Before coming to Salisbury, the two played together in the Crabfest All-American Showcase.
“He seemed like a good guy,” Korczynski said. “You could tell from the moment he touched the field that he was a pretty talented player.”
As a freshman, Barry hit .306 with five home runs. He carried his early success into his sophomore and junior seasons. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound, right-handed hitter received first-team all-conference honors after a 2017 sophomore campaign in which he batted .333 with 12 “jacks.”
“Jack’s one of the hardest working guys on the team,” Korczynski said. “He’s willing to do anything for the team — on or off the field. He brings positive energy to the field every day and pushes everyone around him to get better.”
Barry’s hard work earned him an invitation to the Power Showcase last December in Miami. The event puts players through on-field drills in front of pro scouts. It’s best known for its home run derby. In the 2009 Power Showcase, a 16-year-old Bryce Harper famously launched 500-foot bombs at Tropicana Field.
“I just wanted to go down there and represent Salisbury and play as best as I could in hopes of catching the attention of some of the big league scouts,” said Barry, who, as a junior, is eligible for June’s MLB amateur draft.
The Power Showcase isn’t solely about baseball. Participants are responsible for working with the Home Runs That Help campaign. Players reach out to communities via local children’s hospitals; they also partner with members of their communities that are dealing with life-threatening medical conditions, disabilities or special needs.
Barry partnered with the Women Supporting Women foundation, a Salisbury-based, non-profit organization that helps support breast cancer patients while also raising awareness about the illness.
On the field during the pro-style batting practice, Barry launched two homers that hit the multi-colored, sea-themed sculpture in left-center field at Marlins Park (a sculpture, incidentally, that Jeter, Barry’s hero and the Marlins’ new CEO, wants to remove because of its gaudiness).
“It was just an amazing experience just to get to hit on the field and play with some of the best guys in the country,” Barry said.
“It was actually a pretty humbling experience for me just to see how many good players there are and realize how lucky we are to get to do this every single day,” Barry said.
Barry hasn’t let the bright lights of a major league stadium go to his head. This season, he’s batting .419 – third best in the Capital Athletic Conference – and his team is ranked 24th in the country by D3baseball.com.
A 10-game win streak has Salisbury on its way to competing for another conference title — further justifying Barry’s decision to stay in Maryland and play for the Sea Gulls.
BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Top Performers of the Week
Noah Song, RHP, U.S. Naval Academy
As much as we try to feature different players in our top performers of the week segment, Song has once again played his way onto our list. The right-handed hurler was named Patriot League Pitcher of the Week for the second time in 14 days and the third time this season. Song pitched a complete-game two-hitter in a 1-0 win against the College of Holy Cross. He struck out nine batters in his third straight complete game. Song has now tossed 19 consecutive scoreless innings.
Aaron Barclay, INF, Washington College
Junior/Crofton, Md./Archbishop Spalding/ Bats/Throws: R/R
Barclay tied his career-high in RBI with five against Haverford College. The former standout at Archbishop Spalding notched his first home run in over two years in the 13-6 win. With two Shoremen aboard, Barclay sent a three-run blast over the right field fence. Barclay capped off Washington College’s (19-9 overall, 3-4 conference) seventh win in nine games with a two-RBI triple to center field.
Alex Ross, LHP, Johns Hopkins University
Senior/San Ramon, Calif.
Ross’ dominance over Muhlenberg College earned him Centennial Conference Co-Pitcher of the Week honors. The senior southpaw threw a complete-game shutout allowing only four hits and a walk. Ross struck out a career-high 15 batters on his way to his first win of the season. His 15 strikeouts are the fourth most in a single game in program history.
Right-hander Stephen Schoch recorded his seventh save of the year, breaking the single-season saves record for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in a 7-5 win against George Washington University. … Johns Hopkins left fielder Tim Kutcher had quite the week. The Forest Hill native and former John Carroll Patriot was named Centennial Conference Player of the Week for the first time in his career. In the Blue Jays four games this week, Kutcher batted .529 with nine hits, including his first career home run. He also plated two RBIs and had a stolen base. To finish off his week, Kutcher made a spectacular leaping catch to rob a home run. Kutcher’s catch earned him the fourth best play on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10. … Washington College’s Evan Hirschbaum became the sixth player in program history to register 150 career hits in a 12-5 win over Gettysburg College. … Coppin State University shortstop Derek Lohr was named MEAC Baseball Rookie of the Week for the second consecutive time. In a three-game sweep of the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, Lohr went 4-for-9 with four RBIs. This season, Lohr is hitting an impressive .405 with five doubles and 15 RBI. Lohr’s been even better in conference play – batting .511 with four doubles, 11 RBIs and a .600 slugging percentage.
Matchup to watch
Navy is set to play a doubleheader against Lehigh University on Saturday. The baseball team will turn the clocks back 125 years as they host an 1893 Throwback Day at Max Bishop Stadium. Fans in attendance will receive free, mauve-colored Navy baseball T-shirts. Mauve dye became widely available in the 1890s and was used in Navy baseball’s inaugural season in 1893. The videoboard will showcase famous paintings from 1893, as well as celebrate the birthdays of famous Americans born in 1893; the public address system will intermittently play famous musical symphonies from the year. On the field, Navy will try to improve upon its 9-5 conference record. Navy (25-9 overall) is currently second in the Patriot League standings.