Larry Barraza, shortstop for the Grambling State University baseball team, had a memorable summer as he spent the past two months at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California.
Barraza, who is from Huntington Park, California, played for the Academy Barons in the highly talented California Collegiate League (CCL). Coming off of a successful first season in Division I baseball, he continued his exceptional play leading the CCL in several offensive categories; hits (50), batting average (.407), runs (37), and third in home runs (4). His outstanding CCL season ultimately led him to win the Batting Title and CCL All-Star and All-League team selections.
Playing at the Academy was a familiar experience for Larry having played with the El Camino Compton Center Tartars for two seasons prior to transferring to Grambling State. The Academy serves as the Tartars’ practice and home game facility.
In his last season with Compton (2014), he batted .331 with 7 doubles, 3 triples, 20 RBIs, and 25 runs, earning the following awards: first-team All-State, first-team All-Southern California Region, first-team All-South Coast Conference Infielder, first-team All- Conference Gold Glove Shortstop and 2014 South Coast Conference Batting Champion. During his time with Compton Center, he was guided by some of the best minds in baseball which has helped him to excel at Grambling State where he batted .312 with 7 home runs, 11 doubles, one triple, 32 RBIs, and 28 runs in 2015.
Larry was a key member for the Barons, not only setting the tone for the offense but also displaying great leadership and presence on the field. He exemplified the rare ability to keep the game simple and have fun, providing the best example of what it is to be an Academy Baron. Kenny Landreaux, former Major League All-Star who manages the Barons, stated the following, “Larry is a player that comes to the baseball field not only ready to play but to win. He is not the type to be flashy on the field – he just goes about his business in a professional manner day in and day out. Larry consistently provided solid defense at multiple positions and was a key contributor in the lineup.”
Larry had this to say about his summer experience: “Playing this summer for the Academy Barons was one of the best experiences I have ever had in baseball. An opportunity to be surrounded by great players and knowledgeable coaches really elevated my game. Playing for the Barons this summer was an honor.”
The MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton is part of Major League Baseball’s Urban Youth Initiative. Encompassing more than 20 acres on the campus of El Camino College Compton Center, the Academy is a state-of- the-art facility featuring four fields, including a show field complete with scoreboard, grandstand seating, dugouts and lights; an auxiliary field; softball field; youth field; and a 12,000 square-foot clubhouse consisting of a weight room, locker room, and other training facilities, as well as batting cages and pitching mounds. The Academy operates on a year-round basis, offering free baseball and softball instruction, as well as clinics to youth throughout Southern California.