Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

July 20, 2013

A fast ball, a perfect fit

Man finds team to match his love for softball, NASCAR

VALDOSTA — Some people love NASCAR. Some people love softball. In rare cases like this, however, you have people who love both. James Barrett of Valdosta is a prime example of this.

While growing up, Barrett played softball in various places around Valdosta, including the Lowndes High School Vikings and parks and recreation leagues across the city.

Barrett has also played for various church leagues in addition to park leagues. He is a pitcher and is known for his slow curve ball. In one of his most memorable games, Barrett pitched a no hitter.

“I had no idea I even had done it,” said Barrett. “The umpire came up to the mound after the game and asked did I know what I did. I said no. He then told me I had pitched a softball no-hitter.”

In addition to softball, Barrett has always been a NASCAR fan.

He began racing about 20 years ago. Some of the tracks Barrett has raced include ones in Albany and Cordele. Currently, he does not race anymore.

“Racing costs too much,” said Barrett, “the tires, brakes and just maintenance in general was a lot to keep up with, but I still love the sport.”

These stories mostly represent some of his past accomplishments.

Barrett is now the coach of an 18-and-up softball league in Valdosta. This is not just any ordinary team. They are sponsored by the one and only NASCAR legend, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Last year, Barrett went to Tallahassee, Fla., to buy a car, and stumbled across a “Dale Earnhardt Look-a-Like Contest.” Barrett has been told on numerous occasions that he resembles Earnhardt so he entered the contest and walked away the winner.

He got to meet Earnhardt Jr. and also met Andrew DeWerff, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s right-hand man. After discussing softball and NASCAR, DeWerff offered to sponsor an adult league softball team for Barrett.  

Normally, it is unusual to get a softball sponsorship, especially from a NASCAR driver, but in this case, it became a match made in heaven.

The actual sponsorship helps players on Barrett’s team pay entrance fees and also the team uniforms. The sponsorship overall helps guys out that want to play softball, but can’t afford it financially, be able to still play and have fun.

“You go play it as a fun game. When I go out on the field, I look at the batter, and I start laughing. Then he starts laughing. It’s all fun and games.”

This was the team’s first year together. The league is made up of 15-20 teams, and each team plays the others once until the playoffs. In their league, they came in third in the final standings.

The big picture isn’t always to win the big trophy, but the thrill of playing.

“A lot of it’s bragging rights involved. They beat us last time, so we gonna beat them this time,” said Barrett.

People from all over South Georgia make up the team, including players from Cook County and Thomasville.

Barrett loves to coach, but was quick to say that if he did not coach, he would always be willing to play softball.

“It’s always good to have a pitcher who can throw a strike,” said Barrett.

In the past, Barrett has coached the Valdosta Red Sox softball team in addition to coaching at the local Boys and Girls Club.    

You can join this league and others by visiting Valdosta Parks and Recreation at www.vlpra.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • election.jpg Black earns most votes in runoff

    State Rep. Ellis Black led the votes for state Senate District 8 Friday with seven of seven counties reporting certified results, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140724-LAT1.jpg Little Actors Theatre ready for summer show

    Since 2004, the Little Actors Theatre has provided a place for children ages 6 to 19 to express themselves through acting.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072414-MichelleNunn003.jpeg Michelle Nunn visits Valdosta

    The day after learning that her Republican challenger would be David Perdue, Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn kicked off her Common Sense and Collaboration Tour Wednesday by meeting with business owners in Atlanta, Athens and Macon and continued her tour Thursday morning by visiting the David S. Waller Unit facility of the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • lunch.jpg Valdosta One Lunch feeds summer-hungry kids

    Hunger is a concept that many people associate with third-world countries, not their hometown. However, in Valdosta, hunger is real. To combat this hunger, a group of Valdostans have created Valdosta One Lunch, a program that distributes bagged meals to children in need.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • thumbs up.jpeg Moody squadron commander reaches milestone

    The 75th Fighter Squadron commander hit a career milestone July 17, by surpassing 3,000 flight hours in an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • water.jpg New equipment expected to deal with Lowndes water violations

    The Lowndes County Commission’s recent approval of $1.6 million for water-treatment equipment is expected to counter a past series of water-quality violations within the county.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 142314-Goodwill.jpg Goodwill hosts the Mexican Consulate

    Mexican citizens living in South Georgia have spent this week lining up at the Valdosta Goodwill to meet with the Mexican Consulate to obtain Mexican government issued identification.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140723-Tree001.jpg Chamber plants 100th centennial tree

    Founded in September 1912, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest chambers in the state.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140723 - Operation M#10E3C7.JPG Veterans First

    With Moody Air Force Base expecting to lose 300 to 400 personnel due to government cutbacks, area organizations are working with military personnel about to enter the civilian work force.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lowndes increases millage rate

    For the first time since 1999, the Lowndes County Commission voted Wednesday to increase the millage rate.

    July 24, 2014

Top News
Poll

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results