Panther On Prowl In The Infield Slick-Fielding Barneson Should Catch On Easily In Gsl Varsity Play
Mead shortstop John Barneson committed just three errors in organized baseball over the past year. His consistency at that position has earned the 17-year-old a scholarship to Stanford.
That’s not bad for a guy who played junior varsity baseball last year.
“I’ll tell you, he was the best junior that league has seen in a long time,” said Mead varsity baseball coach Dave Vaughn.
This year, Barneson will help anchor a Mead team that most Greater Spokane League coaches select to win the league title. The season begins Tuesday.
As for Barneson, rules forced him to play with the JVs because he transferred to Mead after playing two years at Northwest Christian.
“It was pretty tough,” Barneson. “It was frustrating watching varsity games when I knew I could have been out there.”
What wasn’t tough for Barneson was playing at the JV level. He hit .544 and made just one error.
In the summer, Barneson was a member of Mead’s American Legion team, M & L Construction. In the field, he committed just one error in close to three months of play.
Early in this spring season, though, Barneson has already used up his quota of errors for the year. He committed one in the Panthers’ 10-7 loss against Pasco on Friday.
Barneson, right fielder Matt Armitage, center fielder Adam Morris and pitchers Evan Thomas and Damian Long are just a handful of players who will attempt to restore some respect to the Panthers this season.
Last year, Mead finished a disappointing 7-9 after winning the GSL’s regular-season crown in 1994.
As in the past few GSL baseball seasons, the race for the league crown is probably wide open.
As for John Barneson IV, his future is wide open with opportunity as well.
Baseball is not going to be his meal ticket, by any means.
Just last week, Barneson was one of 300 high school students in the western region to be invited to an 11-day forum on medicine at San Francisco in June. The forum is designed for high school students who have shown career interest in medicine.
Barneson, a 4.0 student, thinks he’d like to get a pre-med undergraduate degree. “I’m thinking along the lines of anesthesiology or cardiology. Hopefully the forum will provide some answers to some questions I have,” he said.
As for baseball, Barneson realizes he is walking in the footprints of previous shortstops from Spokane who have gone on to have good professional and collegiate careers: Ryne Sandberg and Kevin Workman of North Central, and Kevin Stocker of Central Valley.
“I have thought about that,” Barneson said. “I got a chance to see Kevin (Workman) play, and he was really exciting. Each of those guys has his own style. I’ve never seen Sandberg or Stocker play in person, but I love the way Workman worked hard on the field. I’d like to think I work that hard on the field.”
Sandberg is back out of retirement and playing for the Chicago Cubs. Stocker is with the Philadelphia Phillies and Workman, after transferring from Pepperdine University, is playing shortstop at Gonzaga.
For the past two summers, the 6-foot-1, 175 pound Barneson has participated in the Stanford Cardinal selection-only camp held in June. In his last trip, Barneson was the top-rated infielder at the camp, and in November, he signed a letter-of-intent to play with the Cardinal.
Though he was born in Spokane, Barneson and his family lived in Orange County, Calif., for eight years before moving back to Spokane. He also has family residing in Northern California.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Stanford,” Barneson said. “It’s just a long-time dream of mine. I’ve always liked the academic and athletic combination offered at the school.” , DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: GSL BASEBALL Defending league and district champ: University. Qualifiers to state: None. Predicted order of finish: Mead, Central Valley, North Central, Ferris, U-Hi, Shadle Park, Gonzaga Prep, Rogers, Lewis and Clark. Returning all-league players: First team - None. Second team - Adam Morris, Mead; Justin McKitterick, Ferris; Eric Pearson, Rogers. Players to watch: Eric Sandberg, pitcher, Ferris; R.J. DelMese, pitcher/third base, CV; Joe Baune, third base, Shadle; Chris Kreider, shortstop, U-Hi; Sean Carlson, pitcher, Rogers.
This sidebar appeared with the story: GSL BASEBALL Defending league and district champ: University. Qualifiers to state: None. Predicted order of finish: Mead, Central Valley, North Central, Ferris, U-Hi, Shadle Park, Gonzaga Prep, Rogers, Lewis and Clark. Returning all-league players: First team - None. Second team - Adam Morris, Mead; Justin McKitterick, Ferris; Eric Pearson, Rogers. Players to watch: Eric Sandberg, pitcher, Ferris; R.J. DelMese, pitcher/third base, CV; Joe Baune, third base, Shadle; Chris Kreider, shortstop, U-Hi; Sean Carlson, pitcher, Rogers.