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Jack Barrie Finding His Groove in St. Cloud

 

When Jack Barrie first arrived in St. Cloud a little over a week ago, he focused on simplifying his approach each night as he kicked off his first season with the St. Cloud Rox in the Northwoods League.

Something as simple as not over-thinking what he was trying to do each night, zeroing in on what he does well.

“I’ve literally just been simplifying things down to just one thing. Sometimes, I focus more on my hands and that can mess me up a little bit. But the last few games, I’ve just been focusing on seeing the ball,” Barrie said. “It’s a duel against me and the ball, I’m not facing the pitcher or the infielders or the field, it’s just me and the ball. Letting my hands to be soft and quick and just allowing myself to do the job, that’s about it.”

Whatever Barrie is focusing on, it’s been working for him and the Rox as of late.

In the last week, Barrie has taken off in St. Cloud. In the last four games heading into Thursday’s contest against the Eau Claire Express, Barrie has tallied gone off for three home runs and eight RBI while quickly climbing league leaderboards.

“I’ve been following that process and just knowing that I can get to those balls and I have the strength to get the ball out,” he said. “It’s just about doing it and not really trying to do too much.”

Included in that four-game outburst for Barrie was a two-home run game on Sunday, June 10 against Thunder Bay at the Rock Pile, where he sent the Rox home walk-off winners in the bottom of the ninth with a solo shot to left field. That night, he earned Northwoods League Player of the Night honors while tying a Rox franchise record for most home runs in a single game.

In just eight games played in St. Cloud this summer, Barrie is already tied for second in the league with three home runs.

“It feels great. I’m seeing the ball really well,” Barrie said. “I’m sticking to the process and trying to simplify things and it’s just working for me right now.”

Barrie, a native of Maleny, Australia, enters the Northwoods League season having had a nice year with Northwestern Ohio. In 58 games, he recorded a .326 batting average with 47 RBI and 14 home runs.

As he embarks a new season with a new team this summer, Barrie is looking forward to his time in St. Cloud while focusing on simplifying his game in the quest to helping boost the Rox to another Northwoods League championship in 2018.

“My host family, they are beautiful people. I’m blessed to be with some nice people like that,” Barrie said. “I haven’t done too much exploring (in St. Cloud) yet, I’ve been meaning to get out there and see what St. Cloud has to offer. I’m still trying to get there, but it’s been pretty nice.

“I love the atmosphere of the fans and when they come out, they are behind us and have our backs. It’s definitely one of the best places I’ve played in a while. I love how we play baseball and I love how we play a lot of games like minor league baseball. It’s great, I’m loving my time here so far.”

The St. Cloud Rox are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in its 25th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 190 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR).  All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.stcloudrox.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Rox as your favorite team.