Jack Barry played for a travel baseball team while he was in high school and that allowed him to be seen by coaches from several Division I programs.
That list included Virginia Tech, Virginia, James Madison and William & Mary, among others. Barry attracted added attention from William & Mary, which wanted the infielder from Reservoir High to be a walk-on.
But some of those Division I opportunities fell through for Barry, who grew up in Laurel and was part of a state-title team as a junior at Reservoir High.
In the fall of 2014 he paid a visit to Division III Salisbury, where he is now starting at third base as a freshman for a program that advanced to the College World Series last year.
Barry said he gained some interest from other Division I schools such as Radford, Siena, Towson, Maryland-Baltimore-County and Delaware, but some of the attention waned the summer he played for the Mid-Atlantic Red Sox.
"Ultimately I decided to come to Salisbury," he said. "They win a lot of games and they are nationally-ranked. I just felt at home. The coaching staff really wanted me here. I can be in the starting lineup as a freshman, which I would not have had at a lot of schools."
Was it easy to turn down a chance to walk-on at William & Mary to attend Salisbury?
"It wasn't easy at all. I was so hung up on the idea of playing Division I baseball I didn't want to think about other opportunities out there," said Barry, who grew up as an Orioles fan.
That began to change when he visited Salisbury during his senior year of high school.
"I met coach (Troy) Brohawn in the fall. I sent him an e-mail; he e-mailed me back and invited me to come down and visit. I walked on to campus and he was right there to visit. He talked about playing experiences," Barry said.
Brohawn pitched professionally for 11 seasons and came out of the bullpen in one of the wins for the Arizona Diamondbacks when they won the 2001 World Series title over the New York Yankees.
Barry said a photo of that 2001 Arizona team hangs in the office of the Salisbury coach.
"His work ethic is second to none. He has a motor that never stops," said Brohawn, who grew up on the Eastern Shore and played at the University of Nebraska. "We lost a senior third baseman from last year. We had some competition and (Barry) came in and solidified it by the end of fall practice. He has tons of tools."
Barry started the first 31 games and was hitting .298 (34 of 114) with three doubles, four homers, 36 RBIs and seven stolen bases. He had a slugging average of .430.
In the field he had 71 assists with nine errors, while taking part in six double plays with 30 putouts and a .918 fielding percentage.
Salisbury was 21-10 overall and 12-6 in the Capital Athletic Conference. The Seaguls won their first game in the CAC tournament and play in the second round against Marymount today.
Another big league connection with Salisbury is freshman infielder Ron Villone, whose father pitched in the Major Leagues and ended his career with the Washington Nationals in 2009.
Barry is studying communications and media productions with a minor in theater.
"We recruited him pretty heavily. We felt we had a great shot. The program here speaks for itself. You have a chance to come in and play right away," Brohawn said. And that is what Barry did.
Notes: Laurel resident Cody Morris, teammates with Barry at Reservoir, is a freshman pitcher at South Carolina. The roster of Division III Catholic baseball includes Laurel resident Danny O'Hagan, a sophomore catcher/outfielder from Reservoir; freshman pitcher Jon Mierzwa of Laurel and Reservoir; senior pitcher Josh Martin (Atholton); and junior catcher Paul Burmester (Atholton). O'Hagan hit .328 in his first 21 games this season.