Former Hirschi Husky Joe Barron says he feels at home on the baseball field.
Barron spent his first year of college at a home away from home at Labette Community College in Parsons, Kansas this past season.
"He kept working, kept working, kept working," Labette CC coach Clint Stoy said. "That's just his character. He's never going to stop."
Stoy says Barron's impact on the team grew as the season went on. He points to one example during the team's late push for the playoffs.
"We had bases loaded, down by two runs. We pinch hit Joe with two outs," he said. "He hits a double off the wall. That's just a testament to his work ethic."
Work ethic is also the reason Barron put up some big numbers, but not in the way most think of right away. Barron dropped nearly 40 pounds while in college, thanks to the school's strength and conditioning program and being able to focus only on baseball, not both baseball and football.
"I felt better, a lot more energy," Barron said. "I feel faster, have more range in the infield."
Joe's mother, Laquintia Barron, says she was shocked the first time she saw her son run the bases.
But most importantly, she was a proud parent watching her son play for the first time in a college uniform.
"I almost felt like I was at the major league level," she said. "That was my son succeeding and pursuing the dreams he had for himself."
Barron hit .321, with an on-base percentage of .387 for the Cardinals. He says he's grown as a hitter since last swinging the bat for Hirschi.
"You've got to hit the ball the other way," Barron said. "I had a problem with that in high school. I'm a better mental hitter now."
In addition to on-the-field adjustments, there's of course, big-time off-the-field ones.
"There's no one there to wake you up in the morning," he said with a smile. "You got to do your own laundry, cook for yourself. You got to do everything on your own now."