July 24, 2001
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Infielder A.J. LaBarbera has transferred to Santa Clara University and will play baseball for the Broncos beginning this fall, head coach Mark O'Brien announced.
A native of Whittier, Calif., LaBarbera played two seasons at Long Beach State and will have two years of eligibility remaining at Santa Clara.
"I'm really thrilled to have a player like A.J. come into our program," said O'Brien, who took over as the Broncos' head coach on June 11. "A.J. will bring quality experience to our infield. He has played in some big games and knows what it takes to be successful. We lose several starters in our infield this season so A.J. will be a big part of our defensive success this season."
LaBarbera started 94 of 108 appearances during the 1999 and 2000 seasons at Long Beach State. He posted a collegiate career batting average of .276 with 43 RBI and a .356 on base percentage. As a sophomore, he recorded a .970 fielding percentage at second base and committed just seven errors in 236 total attempts. He did not participate in 2001.
LaBarbera is a 1998 graduate of California High School in Whittier, Calif. where he was a four-year letterwinner in baseball and the Del Rio League MVP as a senior. He was an all-area selection after batting .460 with nine homers and 27 RBI. He also won two league titles in cross country and was named to the honor roll all eight semesters of high school.
As a freshman Long Beach State, LaBarbera started 41 games overall, including the final five games of the season at shortstop. He helped lead the team to the 1999 NCAA Sub-Regional Championship game.
LaBarbera spent the summer of 1999 as a member of the Anchorage Bucs in the Alaska League for current Bronco assistant Mike Oakland. He also played the summer of 2000 as a teammate of current Bronco centerfielder Jack Headley for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League.