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Barrow's stay with Huskies could be a short one

Duluth Huskies pitcher Dylan Barrow was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 25th round of the MLB draft. Steve Kuchera /

Duluth Huskies pitcher Dylan Barrow was warming up with teammates before Saturday’s game at Wade Stadium when his cellphone started ringing.

Barrow, a Florida native, recognized the Tampa Bay area code and assumed the call had something to do with the ongoing Major League Baseball draft.

“I definitely didn’t expect it,” Barrow said. “I had talked to some scouts, but my mindset was to go back to school for another year and see what happens. But then I got a call from the Boston Red Sox saying there was a good chance of me getting drafted, and then the next day, the Yankees called me and said, ‘We’re going to take you in the 25th round.’ It was a pretty special moment.”

Barrow’s time with the Huskies this summer could be short-lived after the Yankees took him with the 752nd pick in last weekend’s draft. Scouts will see the right-hander pitch another game, maybe two, and then the Yankees likely will make him an offer. If Barrow doesn’t like the offer, he can go back to the University of Tampa and try to improve his draft stock for next year.

A total of 11 former and current Huskies were drafted, including Barrow’s Tampa teammates Mac James, who left shortly after being drafted in the sixth round by the Tampa Bay Rays, and Max Bartlett, drafted in the 36th round by the Cleveland Indians.

“We all know as baseball players, that’s a dream come true,” said the 20-year-old Barrow. “My teammates are happy for me, just like I’d be happy for them. They’re supporting me. I just want to stay the same guy, the same personality. I just want to be one of the guys.”

Barrow comes across as humble and polite, often saying “yes sir” and “no sir,” and he gets a bit sheepish talking about the “photo evidence” of him clocking 98 mph with his fastball. He said he consistently clocks between 92 and 94 mph. Besides that, one of the most intriguing things about the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder is that he is still relatively raw as a pitcher.

Barrow was a shortstop for Durant High School in Plant City, Fla., never pitching an inning but having a strong arm.

Barrow had a scholarship offer to play shortstop at St. Leo (Fla.) University, but he already had caught the eye of scouts after pitching with a summer traveling team. They recommended he go the junior college route, where he could hone his skills as a pitcher, so he enrolled just two hours up the road from Durant at Sante Fe College in Gainesville, Fla.

“A lot of the draft is about projection, and the Yankees saw some potential there,” Barrow said. “I never did anything serious on the mound. I’d joke around with my teammates, ‘Here, look at this,’ but that was about it. I think it’s a good thing that I wasn’t pitching from the time I was little, so my arm is a lot fresher. They always say you only have a certain amount of bullets in your arm, and I feel good.”

Barrow pitched two seasons for the Saints, going 4-2 as a sophomore with a 3.78 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 50 innings. He enrolled at Tampa but didn’t play this spring because he was a couple credits short of being eligible.

“I’ve been playing baseball since I was 4, so to go a year without playing was tough,” Barrow said. “I was excited to get back on the mound, especially that first game. I was ready to compete.”

Boy was he ever.

The Huskies trotted out Barrow for the second game of the season and he responded by allowing just one hit while striking out 10 in just six innings.  With a scout in attendance, Barrow was cruising along in his start Tuesday before an error and a tough fielding play in the fifth inning led to an early exit. Barrow never mentioned he was one of six Huskies players who were sick the night before, vomiting seven or eight times before feeling a little better the next day.

“Dylan is a gamer. When you’re playing this game we love so much, you wake up and you play baseball. You don’t tell the coach ‘no,’ ” Huskies pitcher Jordan Deal said. “You have fans here for you, little kids asking for your autograph. It’s kind of a humbling experience, and you want to play.

“Now I’m not his dad, so I didn’t say I was proud of him, but it was pretty cool to see Dylan handle himself like he did after getting drafted. That’s the reason we’re all here. We’re still college kids and like to have a good time, but we’re here to get better, and Dylan is the perfect example of that.”

Barrow has yet to earn a decision in three starts, with a 2.51 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 14⅓ innings.

Huskies coach Daniel Hersey is a Florida native who used to live across the street from Barrow’s coach at Tampa; hence the connection in getting the hard-throwing right-hander to Duluth.

Barrow, who hadn’t hired an agent as of earlier this week, was asked how much longer he’d be with the Huskies.

“That’s a mystery, I don’t know,” Barrow said. “I’m just taking things as they come. In the meantime, I love being here, I love Duluth. It’s cold, but the people are great. I’ll take it.”

Current and Former Duluth Huskies’ Draft Picks Connor Joe, Round 1, Pittsburgh; Keith Curcio, Round 6, Atlanta; Mac James, Round 6, Tampa Bay; Max Schuh, Round 7, Baltimore; Max MacNabb, Round 18, San Diego; Tyler Palmer, Round 21, L.A.; Michael Suiter, Round 24, Chicago White Sox; Dylan Barrow, Round 25, N.Y. Yankees; Trey Vavra, Round 33, Minnesota; Nate Fury, Round 36, Detroit; Max Bartlett, Round 36, Cleveland.

Huskies keep Alexandria at bottom of division Duluth swept Alexandria 10-4 and 7-4 in a seven-inning Northwoods League doubleheader pitting the bottom teams in the North Division on Friday before 1,139 at Wade Stadium.

Montevallo’s Vinny Rodriguez hit the Huskies’ first grand slam at home in the team’s 12-year history to power Duluth in the opener. West Florida’s Kevin Peters allowed just two runs in six innings to record the win, while Rodriguez, Dominic Brugnoni (Florida Southern) and newcomer Austin Christensen (Nebraska) had three hits apiece for the Huskies.

Christensen opened the second game on the mound, where he allowed just one run on three hits in 4⅓ innings. Michael Tinsley (Kansas) and Nolan Johnson (Minnesota State-Mankato) had two hits apiece to lead the Huskies (6-12), while Cam Duzenack had a hit and two runs for the Blue Anchors (3-15).

Duluth plays the first of two games at Waterloo beginning at 7:05 p.m. today.