Holtville Sylacauga playoff baseball

Andy Anders / The Herald Sophomore Drey Barrett recently committed to play college baseball at Southern Miss. The right-hander had a 2-1 record with a 1.59 ERA as a freshman last year. 

Drey Barrett has always dreamed of being a two-way player at the college level, so last week he chose the school that can make that happen for him.

Barrett, a sophomore shortstop and pitcher at Holtville high school, committed to play college baseball at the University of Southern Mississippi. Barrett went to a camp there in October, impressed the coaching staff, and was quickly invited back for a visit with his family.

A few days after their visit, Barrett was offered and committed on Nov. 1.

“I went down there for a camp and really liked the campus, so I knew that was a place I really liked,” Barrett said. “After the camp, we went on a visit and I liked the facilities even more. From there, I got the coach’s contact information and a few days later, they offered me as a two-way. That’s always what I wanted, so I committed about three days later.”

At 6-foot-3 already as a sophomore, Barrett’s frame already fits that of a college baseball player. His skills do as well, and he’s shown that both on the mound and in the field at Holtville and at the plate with the East Coast Sox and Perfect Game.

As a freshman with Holtville last spring season, Barrett didn’t break into the lineup, but he played major innings as a utility infielder and both a starting and relief pitcher.

He considers himself to be a fastball pitcher, with him already throwing 85-86 MPH and having reached 87 MPH this fall, but he does have four pitches in his repertoire. To complement his fastball, he also throws a slider, curveball and changeup.

He finished the year with 111 total chances in the field with a .901 fielding percentage, mostly at second base, and he had a 2-1 record with a 1.59 earned run average in 30.2 innings on the mound.

With the East Coast Sox, he has played shortstop and has impressed at the plate with a career .328 batting average over his four seasons with the team. He has become a solid doubles hitter and can spray the ball to all gaps in the outfield.

“I think I’m very versatile and that’s one of the biggest things that Southern Miss liked about me,” Barrett said. “I can play anywhere on the infield and I can pitch for them, so that’s what that two-way option will be when I get there. Whatever they ask me to do, I’ll do it and I feel like they liked that.”

While Southern Miss ended up being Barrett’s destination, the Golden Eagles weren’t the only school showing interest to the sophomore. Barrett threw a bullpen for Auburn at Auburn, threw a bullpen for both Alabama and Penn State in Ft. Myers, and threw a bullpen for South Alabama at the East Coast Sox Scout Day.

All four of those schools contacted East Coast Sox coach Eric Dubose about Barrett, but none had sent an official offer yet.

Southern Miss did, however, offer Barrett and he was very impressed with the program that USM head coach Scott Berry is running.

Southern Miss has been one of the top outfits in the country over the last few years. The Golden Eagles are one of only a handful of teams that have accumulated 40 wins in each of the last five seasons, and they finished last year with a 40-21 record.

Southern Miss nearly hosted a regional tournament at Pete Taylor Park this past season, but instead entered the 2021 postseason as a No. 2 seed in the Oxford regional.

The Golden Eagles came just a few runs short of making it to the super regionals and lost, 12-9, to Ole Miss in the regional championship.

“When you go to a program like Southern Miss, you have a really good shot of making it to Omaha,” Barrett said. “That’s the dream for ever college baseball player. As it gets better and better, the program gets better and better. They’ll get better players and we will be able to make a run and get to Omaha.”