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Saturday, May 7, 2011
Oak Forest's Barry breaks state records

By Scott Powers

Oak Forest senior Tim Barry broke Illinois' career home run and RBI records with a single swing on Friday.

Barry crushed an approximate 450-foot home run against Bremen at Oak Forest on Friday, setting new state records with 50 career home runs and 194 RBIs.

Odin’s Curtis Parrish (2000-2003) owned the previous home run record with 49. Greenville’s Stefan Neece (2002-2005) had the RBI record with 193.
Iowa’s Jeff Clement (1999-2002) holds the national record with 75 career home runs. Michigan’s Drew Henson (1995-1998) possesses the RBI mark with 290.

“It was exciting,” said Barry, who bats righty and uses a 31-ounce, 34-inch bat. “I was very proud of myself. I knew I could do it. It means a lot. I put my name out there and also my family’s.”

Oak Forest coach Thaddeus Gatton stopped Barry after he rounded third base, hugged him and told him he was proud of him.

“It was very touching,” Gatton said. “It was a neat little moment. I think it was a huge burden off him. I think it was finally good for Timmy to get it out the way, and he can now just play baseball.

“He’s the best high school, let alone college, maybe even higher hitter I’ve ever seen. I say this all the time. My assistant coach played juco and Division I, my other assistant played Double-A with the Dodgers, and I played Division III, and none of us have seen a hitter like him in our lives.”

Barry set up the record-breaking day by knocking in four runs during a doubleheader on Wednesday. He went without one on Thursday.

Barry hit 14 home runs as a freshman, 10 as a sophomore, 17 as a junior and has nine this season. Pittsfield’s Scott Riley holds the single-season home run record with 19 in 1999.

“I think it’ll be possible to break my record, but I’m going to make it extremely difficult for them,” Barry said. “I will be hitting more. I’m trying to push it up to 60.”

Gatton doesn’t believe anyone will touch the home run record wherever Barry leaves it at.

“You talk about baseball records all the time,” Gatton said. “This obviously isn’t a Major League record, but I don’t think it is something that will ever be broken. You don’t have four-year starters anymore. You don’t have players who hit consistently for power their entire career. Plus, the bat regulations are changing next year. Hitting a home run is going to be a 100 times harder.”

Barry is signed with Kansas State, but could opt to play professional baseball depending on where he’s selected in June’s draft.

“I’m not worried about it,” Barry said. “Right now is right now. I worry about how I play now.”

Oak Forest will hold ceremony to commemorate Barry’s accomplishment at a future home game.