CLEMSON, SC (WIS) - Surrounded by coaches, his girlfriend and his mother, Clemson pitcher Charlie Barnes got the call he'd been dreaming of from the day he began playing baseball.
The former Sumter Gamecock was taken in the fourth round by the Minnesota Twins in the 2017 MLB Draft.
"It was incredible," Barnes said. "This was something I've dreamed of since I was a little kid. To get it, it puts all of my hard work into, I wouldn't say one moment but it's a good moment. But the biggest thing is the draft is just like a stepping stone. That kind of ended my college career, but it just started my professional career so I've still got a long way to go before I make my eventual childhood dream of playing in the major leagues come true."
Barnes joins a long line of pitchers from Sumter to be picked in the MLB including former Gamecocks Matt Price and Jordan Montgomery. Barnes tells WIS he speaks to Montgomery regularly and having him provide advice throughout this process has been beneficial.
"He told me to, just as much as I could, enjoy the weekend," Barnes said. "It's a stressful time, phone calls left and right. You're talking with your agent, you're talking with teams, you're talking to all these people. He said just try to enjoy it. It's such a stressful time.
"He also told me that this is just a stepping stone. This is just the first step to eventually being where he is in the major leagues and pitching once every five days or whatever for the Minnesota Twins. That's something I've taken that to heart and that's something I'm realizing is that this is so great. It's so exciting, but this is not the end. It's just the beginning."
Barnes finished this season with a 5-5 record with a 3.20 earned run average. He led the Tigers with 113 strikeouts in 16 starts. Having the experience he's had at Clemson has proven to be valuable for Barnes as he moves to the next stage of his playing career.
"After sitting down with different scouts, they've all told me that you're not going to face much better competition in Rookie Ball and Low-A than what you're facing at Clemson right now," Barnes recalled. "So, I think that's prepared me and I think the biggest thing is it's made me grow up. I've had failures. I've had rough games at Clemson, but I've also had great games. So, I think that's just the biggest thing."
Now, Barnes is ready to face his next challenges and looks to prove that the Twins made the right choice in selecting him.
"I think they're getting a player that's extremely smart on the mound," Barnes said. "I don't have overpowering stuff, but I beat hitters by outsmarting them. I beat hitters by throwing pitches where I want to. I think they're also getting a leader in the clubhouse. I was a team captain at Clemson for two straight seasons. So, that's something that they're getting on top of not just being a good player. They're getting somebody off the field and in the clubhouse who can lead and who can help guys and can help lead their team."