Baseball player enters as 20-time national baseball champion
At first glance, a spectator would see Jordan Barth as an Augustana’s freshman baseball player taking on his position as a shortstop.
Barth started playing baseball at 8 years old and since then has been able to continue his career as a player in the division two circuit.
However, his athletic success has not just been limited to baseball. Although it may not be known to outsiders, Barth is a 20-time national racquetball champion and is currently ranked 30th in the nation.
While Barth has been able to master a bat, he has been just as successful with a racquet.
Barth’s fascination with racquetball started before his days in baseball at two years old.
Originally from Cold Spring Minnesota, his mom would take him to work with her at a health club and he would regularly practice there.
“She kind of just put me down on the court, and I couldn’t really get out of the court because I was so small,” Barth said.
Barth was able to play almost every day growing up.
“I didn’t really go to daycare, so the racquetball court was my daycare,” Barth said.
Barth continued to gain experience as a racquetball player, and he later pursued the game further with national competitions.
“I played my first national competition when I was eight years old, and the kid I played was nine and I beat him. That was when I realized I like this game.”
Barth would continually beat players the same age and older than him for the next nine years in national competitions, while still participating in baseball.
Barth accomplishments were purely natural and based on his own knowledge, as he never had a coach teach him the ropes of racquetball.
“People have helped, but that’s a thing people are always surprised by—that I never really had a coach,” Barth said.
Augustana’s head baseball coach Tim Huber says students who have multi-sport experience is a good attribute he looks for when recruiting students.
“We really like guys who are multi-sport athletes in high school,” Huber sad. “It keeps guys athletic and not just focused on one set of movements. It also tends to mean they have more upside and potential when they get to college and focus on one sport more.”
Characteristics like these have been shown for Barth both on the racquetball court and baseball field.
“He has great hands and hand-eye coordination,” Huber said. “He is competitive and a gamer. I assume a lot of that is connected to his racquetball time.”
For Barth, his heart is with baseball and will start his college baseball career here at Augustana this spring. With baseball being a large commitment, Barth will not compete in racquetball to the extent he did before, but still shows some admiration for the sport.
“I enjoy baseball more obviously, or else I would have played college racquetball somewhere, Barth said. “I like playing racquetball because it’s not a big sport everyone knows about. I just enjoyed playing a sport that was under the radar.”