City kid steps up to the plate for Lake Monsters baseball team

BURLINGTON — On Aug. 14, eight kids from around Northern Vermont and one from New York state will take batting practice on the University of Vermont’s Centennial Field, throw out ceremonial first pitches at the Vermont Lake Monsters baseball game that will follow, stand on the field with the Lake Monsters team during the national anthem and spend an inning apiece in the team’s dugout.
First, those nine 2015 Little Lake Monsters Community All-Stars — including 12-year-old Barret Barrows of Vergennes — will be whisked to the site from their introductory press conference in a limo.
At that press conference, the all-stars will sign a one-day promotional baseball contract with the Lake Monsters that will also be signed by Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane (the A’s are the Lake Monsters’ parent club), receive Lake Monsters jerseys and caps, and get their own customized Vermont Lake Monsters baseball card.
Barrows and the other eight youngsters were chosen as Community All-Stars from among hundreds of applicants, team officials said, based on their answers to three questions “that focused on sportsmanship, living a healthy lifestyle and their efforts in the community.”
Barret’s mother, Carrie Barrows, said she showed Barret the article about the Community All-Star application on the Lake Monsters’ website, and it caught his attention immediately.
Barret, an eight-year baseball veteran who hopes to play Babe Ruth baseball this fall and then for the middle school team in the spring, said he didn’t mind taking the time to answer the questions.
“It sounded like fun, and I like baseball,” he said.
Carrie Barrows said Barret’s responses “described his life as an active athlete playing baseball in the spring, summer and fall, football in the fall and wrestling in the winter. He wrote of the support he gets from family and friends. Team over individual experience is important to him, and realizing that someone has to be the loser, and if that is you that you should see it as a win as it is a time to learn something for next time.”
As for community service, Carrie Barrows said Barret provided invaluable help with the Grasshoppers “Foam Ball” team she was coaching.
“This was a group of nine four-year-olds experiencing the game in a safe and fun way,” she said. “He was immediately the favorite of many of the Grasshoppers. One in particular formed a bond with him, and Barret was able to share his knowledge of the game with him.”
Barret, who likes playing first and third base and pitching, said he was happy to help.
“They would practice once a week. They learned basic skills about baseball. I made a little friend, too. I helped him learn about hitting and throwing,” Barret said.
Despite what both Barrows thought was a solid application, the news — which includes a $50 donation to the charity of Barret’s choice, the United Way of Addison County — was a welcome surprise.
Barret was at a summer program at Vergennes Union High School, and Carrie received the email from the Lake Monsters long before she could let her son know.
“I could hardly contain my excitement,” she said. “It would be a few hours before I was able to show him the e-mail. I printed it off and brought it with me when I went to pick him up. I handed it to him and he read it and re-read it. When he realized that he was one of nine selected for this opportunity he was over the moon.”
Barret said he was thrilled, and first called his dad before thinking of the quickest way he could let his friends know.
“I was so excited,” he said. “I posted a picture of it (the email) on Instagram.”
Carrie Barrows said the family has already purchased a number of tickets for the Aug. 14 occasion, one that can’t come soon enough for Barret.
“I’m excited about the 14th. I can’t wait,” he said. “I’m most excited about the first pitch.”
Those interested in tickets for the Aug. 14 game, or other games, may call 802-655-6611 or pick seats and print tickets online at www.vermontlakemonsters.com.

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