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Jimmy Barnes touches all the bases

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Jimmy Barnes wants pitchers to bring the heat.

Chesapeake native Jimmy Barnes

Chesapeake native Jimmy Barnes

"My biggest thing is: Don`t miss a fastball," Barnes said when talking about his approach to hitting.

But the Deep Creek High School alumnus, who just finished his second season in the Los Angeles Angels organization, knows curve balls are going to come.

"At the end of the day, I`m a baseball player," Barnes said simply. "It`s a game of adjustments."

And Barnes can make adjustments. That's a big reason why L.A. selected him with the 345th pick of last year's Major League Baseball Draft. But he can also adjust outside the batter's box.

After one of his games, Barnes met a young child with Autism.

"I started to think, 'He`s so happy, he can`t even play baseball and I`m upset after a bad game," Barnes revealed.

Jimmy was so impacted, he and his foundation, Bases for Barnes, searched for a way to support children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Jimmy Barnes' holiday toy drive to support the Autism Society of Tidewater.

Jimmy Barnes' holiday toy drive to support the Autism Society of Tidewater.

Usually hitters don't like double-plays. However, this is one of which Barnes is thrilled to be a part. He's teamed-up with the Autism Society of Tidewater on a holiday toy drive. But not just any toys - sensory-friendly toys, items that provide sensory stimulation - a helpful and very desirable tool for children with Autism.

"Having sensory toys are amazing, because our kids who seek that stimulation really need it all day long," explained Nicole Miller, resource coordinator for the Autism Society of Tidewater.

"Seeing the major leaguers doing things in the community and giving back, that was always cool to me," Jimmy admitted. "So I want to do the same thing."

Their toys might not be the same as his toys, but because Barnes knows the importance of making the necessary adjustment - the holidays will be a hit for youngsters in Hampton Roads.

Donations for Barnes' holiday toy drive are being accepted at the following locations until Dec. 17:

21 Burger - 2558 Airline Blvd., Portsmouth

Norfolk Baseball Academy - 702 W. 22nd Street, Norfolk

Atlantic Physical Therapy - 1016 First Colonial, Virginia Beach

Useful links:

Bases for Barnes Foundation Facebook page

The Autism Society of Tidewater's Facebook page

The Autism Society of Tidewater's website