MacArthur's Josh Barry never thought of himself as a contender for the Diamond Award for Nassau's most outstanding pitcher, but his teammates saw it coming.
"Maybe two-thirds through the season my friend turned to me and said, 'You know, you might win the Diamond Award,' " Barry said. "I just wanted to be in the rotation."
Barry separated the growth plate in his shoulder before his sophomore season. During his rehab the lefthander focused solely on pitching, but still played with pain early in his junior year.
Finally free of pain this season, Barry went out in style, compiling a 7-1 record and a 0.89 ERA in 53 innings, while striking out 79 and allowing only 25 hits. Last night he was awarded the Diamond Award.
Did he at any point see this season coming? "Not at all," he said.
Barry started to feel pain in his shoulder during his freshman season, but he kept it to himself.
"I didn't want to tell anyone," Barry. "I'm a quiet kid. I just wanted to pitch. MacArthur baseball is so prestigious, if you miss one game, you're out."
Barry still couldn't pitch as a sophomore, so he played first base on the JV team.
"I never thought about quitting," Barry said. "I grew up playing baseball. But I never thought the arm would feel good again."
During his rehab he scrapped playing the field and focused on pitching. His arm came back better than ever. Before the injury Barry's fastball registered in the mid-70s. Afterward, thanks in part to his body maturing, he's topped out at 89 miles per hour. Playing in the summer after his junior year, he caught the eye of college scouts and next year he'll attend Stony Brook on a baseball scholarship.
Pretty good for a kid who just wanted to make the team.
" Frankie Vanderka is my best friend and he's our strikeout guy," Barry said. "You look at this team and you just want to compete."