BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind - Insider knowledge can be essential to success, and that is why Taylor High School baseball standout Logan Barnes feels his choice of Danville Area Community College will be the right one to continue his hardball career. Barnes used the insider knowledge of several of his friends who already play or have played for the Jaguars program based in Danville, Ill.
“Seth Vautaw and Cameron Clark played with me in high school and go there,” said Barnes, who noted Vautaw now plays for Ball State as a junior walk-on. “I talked to them a lot about it and they both said they liked it. So they had a big impact on my choice to go to Danville.”
In addition to Vautaw and Clark, Western graduate A.J. Vazquez is a sophomore in the Jags program, and Barnes’ former summer baseball teammate David Anderson is a freshman in a program known for developing players who move on to a four-year program. Barnes will hope for the same as he takes his game and lofty statistics to the junior college level.
“I really hope to go to a bigger four year school when I graduate; that has been my goal all along,” he said. “It is definitely a dream.”
Barnes, who still has his senior season at Taylor left to play this spring, is a three-sport athlete who should make an immediate impact on the two-year Danville campus. He led all Howard County hitters last season with a .443 batting average. He was also tops in the county with four triples and was near the top of the list for doubles (seven), steals (10) and runs scored (25). He is a solid shortstop, and on the hill he was 4-2 with a 2.31 ERA over 30 innings of work. He is also a guard on the basketball team and played four years of varsity tennis. But with all of the individual accolades, it is a team accomplishment that he is most excited about.
“My sophomore year we went to the (Class 2A) Final Four,” he said. “We went to semi-state and I was the lead-off hitter and played shortstop. We had a big crowd and it was a big thrill. That is where we want to get back to this season.”
Taylor baseball head coach Brent Owens, who coached the Final Four squad, is excited about Barnes’ choice, and thinks he will do very well at the college level.
“We have had a nice connection there for the last couple of years with Seth playing. It is a real good choice for Logan,” said Owens. “I know he wants to play for four years, and this will give him the opportunity to show what he can do with the success he will have there. Hopefully he will get a shot after he graduates, much like Seth is having at Ball State. They have a good program at Danville.”
Owens said Barnes will be missed when he graduates after this upcoming season as he has been a staple in the Titans lineup since his freshman year in 2010.
“He has had three solid years for us already. He has been our shortstop since I took over the program in 2011,” said Owens. “He is a leader for us. Even as a junior when we were 16-12, he was one of our positive results. He led the county in hitting and led the team in a lot of different offensive categories. But more importantly, he led the team by example and with his leadership skills.”
The National Honor Society student-athlete is ranked in the Top 10 of the Taylor class of 2013, and Owens said that is the kind of leadership he wants in his program. While Barnes is not the biggest and most athletic athlete in the school, he works hard and his devotion pays off.
“The funny thing about Logan is he is not the biggest and fastest, but he can generate a lot of power at the plate,” said Owens. “He has pop on the bat – he hits for power by hitting doubles in the gap. He has great eye-hand coordination. He had about 10 base bits for a bunt, but if the third baseman plays in, he will rip it by him for a double. He is a heady player.”
The shortstop said he would not be where he is today without the support of his parents, Ron and LeAnn Barnes, Coach Owens and his family and friends. But he won’t be alone in his trek to Danville as he will not be the only Hoosier new to DACC. Other Indiana natives joining him in the 2013 Danville recruiting class are Anderson’s Curtis Wilson, Greenwood’s Tylor Martin, Huntington North’s Evan Brown and West Vigo’s Brandon Calleja.
Barnes will have the opportunity to play in a historic baseball stadium during his two years at DACC. The home stadium for the Jaguars is Danville Stadium, home of the Prospect League’s Danville Dans. This old-style stadium was built in 1946 and can seat 4,000 spectators. It has been used by many minor league teams over the years, and has been a focal point in two major motion pictures – A League of Their Own starring Madonna and Tom Hanks and The Babe starring John Goodman.
But for the next two years, Danville Stadium will be the home of a local star who is ready for the next level – Taylor Titan standout Logan Barnes.