With less than, Delta State sophomore second baseman Jake Barlow of Monterey plans on taking a break from baseball this summer.
He certainly deserves it.
Barlow was named to the All-Gulf South Conference first team last week. The 5-foot-8 redshirt sophomore, led all second basemen in the GSC in offensive production this season. The Monterey native hit .339 during the regular season with 12 doubles, five triples, nine home runs and 46 RBIs.
He started all 45 games for the Statesmen at second base, collecting 57 hits in 168 at-bats and scoring 37 runs.
Barlow's name is scattered across the GSC statistical leaderboard, ranking 1st in triples (5), 4th in slugging (.631), 8th hits (57), 4th in RBIs (46), and 5th in home runs (9).
"I really never thought about making it, but it's cool," Barlow said. "Once I figured out how pitcher's were going to pitch me I knew if I got a fastball I couldn't miss it. I try to work the count. A lot of it is mental. I try to keep a level head and if I have a bad at-bat I try not to let it get to me."
Delta State advanced to the finals of the Gulf South Conference Tournament Tuesday by defeating Valdosta.
Delta State defeated West Florida 6-0 in the championship game, scoring five runs in the eighth inning.
Delta State will play in the NCAA Division II South Region Baseball Tournament on May 16-19 at a site to be announced on Sunday on NCAA.com at 9 p.m.
The Statesman defeated Valdosta 10-0 in their opening game of the tournament, fell to West Georgia 10-3 before staying alive Sunday with a 10-3 win over Montevallo. Barlow had his first two-home run game against Montevallo, going 3-for-4 in the contest.
The Statesmen defeated West Florida 9-1 Monday.
Barlow was basically looked over after a phenomenal career at Monterey High School. the former All-Parish Player of the Year hit .765 with a .790 on base percentage and 10 home runs his senior year at Monterey.
"I always knew I was capable of playing at the next level, I just needed the opportunity to show what I can do," Barlow said. "Once I got the chance I was lucky enough to prove it. But you have to keep proving yourself or it's next man up."
Barlow said he is not playing summer ball because he wants to rest his knee after tearing a meniscus.
"I'm going to just keep working out," he said. "And rest my knee."
As for next year?
"I'm going to be shooting for Player of the Year and making All-America," he said. "I just have to keep grinding."