Nov 18, 2015 9:35 PM by Ross Field
Local pitcher Luke Barker is ready for his next challenge. The Chico native and former Chico State pitcher is preparing for an opportunity in Independent Ball, refusing to give up on his dream. Action News Now's Ross Field filed this report.
In his four years with Chico State, Luke Barker rewrote the history books.
He left the Wildcats fourth in strikeouts (196) and ninth in wins (17).
As a junior, he set a Chico State record with 18 saves, earning first-team All-America accolades. As a senior, he became an ace, compiling a 1.73 ERA, the sixth lowest in the history of the program among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched.
Barker says the coaching staff taught him how to be successful on the bump.
"I think Coach Taylor showed me how to be a competitor," Barker said. "How to step on the mound and own the moment."
Barker is busy preparing for the California Winter League, a month-long season that begins in January and serves as training ground for the Frontier League, an Independent League based out of the Midwest.
Barker's ultimate goal is to make it to the Bigs.
"I'm getting ready to chase the dream a little bit, but there's thousands of other guys just like me that are trying their best to find a spot, so it's just a matter of finding that spot and not giving up," said Barker.
The 6-foot-3 right-hander has some experience at the next level. Last spring, after wrapping up his Chico State career, Barker made an extraordinary splash while pitching for the Palm Springs Power of the Southern California Collegiate Baseball League.
On June 29th, he fired a perfect game and finished the short season with a 6-0 record and 2.01 ERA. But he'll be the first one to tell you that there are still a few key area that he needs to imporve in before he can take that next step, including raising his velocity.
"At the end of the summer, I was 90-91 mph, so the goal is a little higher and I'm doing what I can to get there. If I can get to 93 mph, then I would like that I think that would get me where I want to go," said Barker.
Barker believes all the hard work will eventually pay off. All it takes is one Big League scout to see his stuff and offer him a chance to play. Being signed with an affiliated team would certainly be a major step in the right direction.