Homegrown Raptors: WSU’s Barnum never tires of improving his game

Brody Barnum thrilled to be able to play summer ball so close to family

RIDGEFIELD — Brody Barnum takes a break from pre-game drills and notes that he is a bit worn down.

In a good way, though.

He has that type of feeling that comes from doing things the right way, the only way the game allows for one to improve.

“I’m tired, but that’s the best part about baseball,” Barnum said. “It’s an everyday grind. You’re out here at the ball field doing the same thing every day.”

“It can consume you, or you make the most of it.”

Brody Barnum of the Ridgefield Raptors said it is “perfect” being able to play summer ball just 10 minutes from the family home. Photo by Mike Schultz
Brody Barnum of the Ridgefield Raptors said it is “perfect” being able to play summer ball just 10 minutes from the family home. Photo by Mike Schultz

Barnum, who starred at Skyview High School and now plays at Washington State, is making the most of this summer, trying to find his rhythm with the Ridgefield Raptors. 

He missed out on opening day ceremonies for Clark County’s new baseball team. He was back at college, finishing a course that is essential in his study of kinesiology. While he would have loved to be part of that first night — with more than 2,000 fans in attendance — he said the classwork did him some good for baseball reasons, too.

Washington State just went through a coaching change, and Barnum was on campus to meet the new staff.

Barnum now hopes to go back to Pullman with a new pitch, and a new approach to the game.

“It was a rollercoaster of a season,” Barnum said of this past spring with the Cougars. “Not just for me, but all of us.”

The Cougars were young and confident going into the season. Then a sudden reality check. There were ups, but a lot more downs.

The players even held a bonfire, to sacrifice something they liked in hopes of honoring the baseball gods. Barnum threw in a photo of David Ortiz, one of his favorite players.

“Give us something, please,” Barnum said with a laugh. 

The Cougars did win the next day, but that was about it as far as the magic of the bonfire.

Former Skyview High School standout Brody Barnum played for the Portland Pickles last summer. This year, he gets to play in Clark County with the Ridgefield Raptors. Photo by Mike Schultz
Former Skyview High School standout Brody Barnum played for the Portland Pickles last summer. This year, he gets to play in Clark County with the Ridgefield Raptors. Photo by Mike Schultz

The 2019 college season is behind him now. He is already excited for the new era of Cougars baseball. He wants to use this summer with the Raptors to improve his game, then show off those skills to the new coaches at WSU.

“I want to go back with a third pitch,” Barnum said, noting he is working on a changeup to go with his fastball and slider. 

He also is a bat for the Cougars. 

“I want to get comfortable again,” he said of being in the batter’s box. “There were times I didn’t feel comfortable playing the game I love.”

In limited time this season with the Raptors, he is batting .292 and also has an on-base percentage of .528. Guess he has a pitcher’s eye in the batter’s box with all those walks. He has only had one appearance on the mound, but he pitched a scoreless inning and got the win.

If he can figure out his game with the Raptors, he knows he will be in good shape with the Cougars.

Interestingly, when he does return to college, and fall ball begins, the new coaches have told the team that there will be no baseball drills for the first two weeks. Just workouts and team bonding.

That should not be too difficult for a baseball team. Barnum, who played for the Portland Pickles last year, said he remains in contact with a bunch of those teammates. Now with the Raptors, he is making fast friends with a lot of players, guys who he competes against in the Pac-12.

“I get to know them, and then I get to compete against them,” Barnum said. “That’s another way baseball rewards you. It’s competitive, but it is a game. It is fun.”

Brody Barnum is a hitter and a pitcher for Washington State during the school year and for the Ridgefield Raptors this summer. Photo by Mike Schultz
Brody Barnum is a hitter and a pitcher for Washington State during the school year and for the Ridgefield Raptors this summer. Photo by Mike Schultz

This game has brought him a lot of attention, from his MVP performance at Skyview and then to the Pac-12. He has two years left with the Cougars, and now he gets a first season with the Raptors.  

“This is perfect,” Barnum said. “I live maybe 10 minutes down the road. I get my mom and dad’s cooking. I’m sleeping in my own bed. And I get to see my younger brother.”

Oh yeah, him.

Cooper Barnum will be a senior at Skyview High School. He is pretty much doing all the things Brody did in high school, and then some. In fact, Cooper said he will follow his brother’s footsteps, announcing his intention to sign with Washington State baseball. 

By then, Brody Barnum hopes to have the Cougars heading in the right direction.

By excelling in the daily grind the game demands. 

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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