Danny Barnes is receiving the notice he hopes extends his baseball career.
The Lake Wales resident is an outfielder and pitcher for the Home Plate Chukars in the Sunbelt Baseball League, a Georgia summer collegiate league.
The Tuskegee University (Ala.) rising senior is playing summer ball for the first time since he started college.
“It’s a lot more competition, which I like,” he said. “It’s good exposure. It’s exactly what I need and exactly what I want.”
Coming from a Division II program, he appreciates the chance to face Division I talent and showcase his abilities, especially because Barnes said he wants to play beyond college.
“It’s an honor to even be playing in this league,” he said.
Barnes was a key member of the Tuskegee team that finished runner-up in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The right fielder was named to the conference all-tournament team. He was 4-for-5, including two triples, in the third of five games during the tournament. He allowed two hits and two earned runs in one inning of relief in that victory.
He hit .300 in starting all 38 of the 40 games he played. His nine doubles and 10 stolen bases (in 14 attempts) ranked second on the team. Barnes had 16 runs batted in and a .954 fielding average in 65 chances.
As a pitcher, he had no record and a 2.57 earned run average in six appearances.
“I had a decent season,” he said. “I’m always looking to better myself and improve on my stats.”
Through 11 games entering Sunday, he batted .353 with five RBIs for the Chukars. He shared the team lead with eight stolen bases, having been caught once.
The right-handed Barnes has been working on hitting the ball to the opposite field. “I’m a natural pull hitter,” he said. “Driving the ball to right, that’s where you get the doubles and triples.”
He has adjusted his hands to drive the ball to the opposite field. “I was dragging my hands some and not keeping my hands inside the ball,” he said.
(Send updates about area athletes to Barbara Boxleitner at BKLE3@aol.com.)