Junior Colby Barrick, starting outfielder for Cal Poly’s baseball team, has always paved his own path.
He wasn’t a baseball prodigy as a kid or a top recruit coming out of high school. In fact, Barrick wasn’t even supposed to go to Cal Poly to begin with.
Right now, Barrick is having the time of his life playing for the Mustangs, but it wasn’t always this enjoyable.
Turning to sports
Throughout his childhood, Barrick turned his focus to all things sports: soccer, baseball, basketball and football. Of the four, he started taking baseball more seriously his junior year of high school with the ultimate goal of getting a scholarship to help his parents financially. In his senior year, his team went 29-1 and won the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 championship.
But Barric k didn’t have any huge offers and was disappointed.
Instead of giving up, Barrick went to Hancock Community College in Santa Maria to play baseball. He started in right field his freshman year, batted lead off, won first team all-conference and a gold glove award. These accolades got him noticed by four-year colleges, and coaches knew about Barrick by the time his sophomore year started. With the increased attention, he improved again in his sophomore year, putting up better numbers with a jump in power and swing.
“The junior college route allowed me to mature as a person,” Barrick said. “I think it completely changed me. I didn’t think I was ready for [Division One athletics]. I didn’t want to accept it at first. It was a hard pill to swallow.”
By the end of his sophomore year, Barrick and his family were all ready for him to go to UC Santa Barbara. Once he committed, his family stocked up on Gaucho gear. He was excited that his parents could go watch him every single home game and that he would play with backup catcher and childhood friend Thomas Roane.
Barrick was so excited by this opportunity that he didn’t realize initially that UC Santa Barbara didn’t cooperate with his financial needs. He had made a decision to go wherever offered the best scholarship, no matter where it was. He de-committed only three weeks before school started.
He didn’t know what to do, but instinctively called up Cal Poly seeking a chance to walk on. The Cal Poly baseball team made it work and he got the scholarship he dreamed of.
Stepping up to the plate
Barrick got his chance to start in the Mustangs’ series against Wichita State in mid-March, where he went 7 of 11 in four games from the plate.
In his time as a Mustang, Barrick learned a lot from head coach Larry Lee.
“He lives, breathes and talks baseball,” Barrick said. “I’ve never been around someone who knows as much as he does.”
Throughout Barrick’s baseball career, Bruhn bonded with Barrick through the sport, offering to help in any way he could.
“I always had my number one fan out there,” Barrick said. “He was a huge reason to why I think I made it to where I am today.”
Barrick isn’t ready to think of life post-college, instead choosing to focus on today. The Cal Poly baseball team finished second in the Big West this season, narrowly missing out on an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. He played well this season and finished fourth on the team in batting average (0.303) with 27 hits and 12 runs.
With how he’s played at the high school and junior college levels, Barrick will likely improve this offseason and come back in 2018 to contribute significantly to a talented Cal Poly team.
Revision: A section of this story has been removed as to avoid further distress to the source.