St. John Vianney centerfielder celebrates 100th career hit
By Rich Fisher | Correspondent
Watching Lindsey Baron tear into a pitch and send it screaming through an outfield gap or charging a ball and gunning a strike to home plate to nail a stunned runner by 10 feet, one could never imagine her performing on a stage not too long ago.
In fact, Baron even has trouble imagining it these days.
“When I was in middle school, I was in the theatre,” the St. John Vianney senior said. “I wasn’t a fan of dancing and singing on stage, so I was out quickly. Sports was always something that stuck. I played basketball, soccer, softball. Sports was always my little niche.”
The niche within the niche was softball, which is where Baron has made her name. Actually, she has lived up to the family name, as big sister Kate played for SJV in the four years before Baron arrived. The older sister is now a senior at Monmouth, where Baron will begin playing next year.
Obviously, coach Kim Lombardi will be bummed when her program is barren of Barons.
“I’ve had a Baron in my program for eight straight years,” said Lombardi, a Monmouth alum. “Each Baron is unique. Lindsey is determined; she’s been in the leadoff role the last two years. She’s great, she gets on base; she makes a lot of things happen. And she’s one of the best defensive centerfielders in the state right now, and one of the best I’ve ever had.”
Baron has been a shortstop since starting serious travel ball at the 10U level. Upon arriving at SJV, Lindsey had never played outfield. But Lombardi already had a shortstop.
Baron admitted to being surprised when initially asked to play outfield but took it in stride. In fact, Monmouth recruited her at shortstop but after seeing her throw out a key baserunner from centerfield in the 2016 Monmouth County Tournament final, they may have her in the outfield.
“Coach [Lombardi] sees in you what you don’t see in yourself,” Baron said.
Defense is only part of the Baron equation. In her first three seasons she batted .343, .364 with four home runs and 23 RBI and .440 with five home runs and 30 RBI. This year, through the Lancers 6-0 start, she was hitting .476 with two homers, two doubles, a triple and five RBI. Her career average as of April 17 was .396.
While Lindsey acknowledges several coaches for her ability to hit, she gives the most credit to God.
“God is the one who put me in this situation," she said. "He’s the one who allows me to play. So I give all my credit to him.”
He wasn’t the only one there April 8, when Baron got her 100th career hit in front of a large group of friends and family.
“I was definitely feeling pressure, especially when I got to the 97, 98 range,” Baron admitted. “It was like, ‘Now you have to do it.’ When I had 99, I was thinking, ‘What if it’s not a good hit? What if it’s an error? Does that count? I need to get a clean hit.’”
She did just that with a little flair out over second base, starting a celebration made extra special by the presence of her big sister in the crowd.
“She’s my inspiration,” Lindsey said of Kate Baron. “We always have that competitive nature, and that’s really helped me become the player I am. … She’s my biggest fan.”[[In-content Ad]]