When Jaime Barta’s father coached baseball in the Northwoods League, she always tagged along. Barta observed the college baseball players — many of them high Major League draft picks — train and showcase their talents under Joel Barta in the collegiate summer league, searching for what separated them from others.
At times, Barta asked her dad: “What makes these players so special?” They’re the same person every day, Joel responded, recognizing the commitment college baseball takes.
Even though she was just a child, Barta made that her mission, too. Growing up in Bismarck, North Dakota, she wasn’t exposed to the elite competition most future collegiate athletes are. She hit .581 one year and struck out 137 batters in a single season. After bouncing around from North Dakota State to Butler Community College, Barta enters the 2020 season as a junior outfielder for Syracuse, and one local news station said she’s the first softball player from North Dakota to sign with a Power 5 school.
“It’s kind of cool to be that pride piece of North Dakota,” Barta said.
With a mom who played college softball and a dad who coaches college baseball at Northland College,…