CA Rebel AJ Barnes signs to play at Wallace State CC

Published 12:20 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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After a stellar senior season at Chambers Academy, AJ Barnes has signed to play baseball at the next level. 

The transfer from Auburn High School tore the cover off the ball this season. He led the Rebels with a .567 batting average. Barnes also showed a lot of power in his senior season. He tallied six home runs and 14 extra base hits. 

Barnes, who did not get to play high school baseball as a junior, will now continue his playing career at Wallace State Community College. 

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“It means a lot man,” Barnes said. “I came into my senior year with no offers. I worked my butt off this whole season, and it really turned out great.”a

Barnes played for Auburn High School as a sophomore before tearing his ACL. He didn’t make the team in his junior or senior year. That led him to make the decision to transfer to Chambers Academy to continue playing the game he loved. 

“It was rough,” Barnes said. 

Barnes had to battle back and work the whole summer in order to get a chance to play at the next level. 

Although Barnes just signed the dotted line Monday, he already has his eyes set on a successful freshman campaign. 

Barnes stated that his goal as a freshman was to “work hard and have a really great freshman season” so that he could set himself up to be a draft prospect in the future. 

The coaching staff at Wallace State made the decision easy for Barnes. 

“The coach is great,” Barnes said. “After me doing research and looking at their program, I really liked their school in general.” 

Wallace State should is getting a player with the ability to hit for average and power, a rare combination in high school baseball. 

“They’re getting a big first baseman/third baseman,” Barnes said. 

He stated that Wallace State was getting a “great athlete, hard worker, and a great kid in general.” 

Barnes has his eyes set on playing Division I baseball at some point after his time at Wallace State. 

AJ Barnes was only at Chambers Academy for one year. However, Head Coach Dillon NesSmith feels like Barnes had been there much longer. 

NesSmith raved about Barnes’ work ethic as a baseball player. 

“I would say that’s one of his strongest traits,” NesSmith said. “He’s a hard-working kid. That’s something not to take for granted these days.”

NesSmith will be going into his seventh season as the head coach for Chambers Academy’s baseball team. Since NesSmith has been with the program, the school has seen six athletes sign to play baseball at the next level. 

“We’ve got some good players here,” NesSmith said. “AJ is going to be a special kid.” 

Chambers Academy so they have the ability to openly recruit players. Players like Aj signing to play at the next level should help Chambers Academy recruit players to their school in the future.

“It means something because most high school kids want to play at the next level,” NesSmith said. “We want them to have a great experience in high school. When you look back on it, your high school ball is some of the best time of your life. 

NesSmith believes that Barnes has talent that you can’t teach. 

“He’s just got some raw ability,” NesSmith said. “You can’t teach his strength, height, and his length. He’s a potential long ball every at bat.” 

This is another big step for Chambers Academy as a program. However, NesSmith is not yet satisfied with where the baseball program is. 

“We still not where we want to be,” NesSmith said. “We want to be contending for state championships. That’s the goal here in every sport that we play.”