MERRILLVILLE | A 20-year-old Merrillville college student's participation Thursday in the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity was a natural, his mother said.
Derek Barnhart, a political science major who is serving an internship in Washington, D.C. this summer, was chosen to help warm up the pitching arm of U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., Suzy Barnhart said.
"On Wednesday, Derek got to be part of a warmup game, then have breakfast with congressman and senators," she said. "It was a really big deal. My son loves baseball."
The game, which pits Democrats against Republicans, has been played each year at the Washington National Park in Washington, D.C. since 1909.
"The game has a long history, and there was only one time since 1909 that it wasn't played. And that was during World War II," Derek Barnhart said.
Barnhart graduated from Covenant Christian High School in DeMotte in 2010 and is attending Cedarville University outside Dayton, Ohio.
While in high school, Barnhart played baseball, including the positions of pitcher, catcher and second baseman.
Barnhart said he has known Stutzman for several years and was pleased when he was accepted to work as an intern for the congressman this summer.
"Fortunately I was picked ... I will be going back to school at the beginning of August," Barnhart said.
As far as his own future in politics, Barnhart said he is still in the decision-making process.
Being around the country's movers and shakers is something that will help him decide, he said.
"That's why I'm here, and this summer will act as a catalyst to see what I want to do with my future," Barnhart said.