Blake Barber has a lot to do these days.
The Troup High shortstop is attempting to lead the Tigers to a Region 2-AAA championship and earn a top seed in the state playoffs, as well as prepare for his first semester at Northwest Florida State College this fall, where he signed to play baseball.
Barber is tied for the team lead in home runs with three, he’s a standout pitcher on the mound for the Tigers, and he’s a smooth-fielding shortstop who anchors the Troup defense.
Luckily, the senior has a familiar face in the dugout to help him along in his final season at Troup.
Blake’s brother, Brock Barber, is a volunteer coach for the Tigers.
“I assumed he’d get into coaching, but I had no idea it would be when I was on the team,” Blake said.
Brock, who played under head coach Craig Garner at Troup before graduating in 2006, joined the Troup staff this season and is contributing to the Tigers’ run at a championship.
Brock’s eyes are also set on joining LaGrange College’s team, but for now his baseball days will be strictly from the dugout.
The Barber brothers now work off each other, and it is contributing to Blake and the team’s success.
“I’ve always wanted to coach, and it’s cool to coach on my brother’s team,” said Brock, who played two seasons of junior-college baseball. “It’s awesome having him out there and it’s a joy watching him play.”
The Barbers haven’t been on the same field since Brock’s final year at Troup, which was Blake’s freshman season.
Garner said Brock’s familiarity with the Tigers is a big reason why he had no problem letting him contribute.
“(Brock) has been through the program and knows how we do things,” Garner said. “We always need the help. Anytime we have another set of eyes out there it’s a good thing.”
Blake said his brother give him plenty of pointers.
“He helps me a lot on the mound, like on my release points,” Blake said. “He also give me pointers on my grip (on the bat) and those types of things.”
Brock said the two have plenty of similar traits on the field, including their “balls to the wall” approach to the game.
On the mound, however, their windups differ.
“We’re both big competitors,” Brock said. “That’s probably the biggest thing.”
Garner has known both of the Barbers since they were toddlers, and his older brother played with their father.
“I’ve watched them since they were in the little leagues and all the way up,” Garner said. “Brock was on the team as an eighth-grader, so I’ve coached him for a long time, too.”
Blake’s transition to Northwest Florida State will come in August, but for now he’s focusing on getting better and helping his team win.
“Talent-wise we’re not what we have been (in previous years),” Blake said. “But this team is real close-knit. It’s looking good for us, and I think we could go a long ways.”