2 Owen High seniors sign to play sports in college on National Signing Day

Ezra Maille
Black Mountain News

Owen High seniors Briggs Barker and Frances Holladay signed Feb. 2 to continue their sports careers at the college level. 

Barker signed to play baseball at Southeastern Community College, a public school in Whiteville. Holladay signed to play softball at Spartanburg Methodist College, a private college in Saxon, South Carolina. 

Owen High senior Briggs Barker signed to play baseball at Southeastern Community College on Feb. 2.

A versatile athlete, Barker has made starting appearances for Owen's football and basketball teams in addition to baseball, often leading as a top scorer. 

Barker has been playing baseball for more than 12 years as a third baseman. He said playing travel sports and working with Baseball University, a player development and recruitment organization, helped him get acquainted with the recruiting process. 

"Briggs did a great job in the process," a statement from the organization said. "He hopes to one day be a teacher and he will get all his core classes in at SCC before transferring to a four year to complete his education degree."

In the 2020-21 season, making 44 plate appearances, Barker had a batting average of .265, scoring 10 runs with nine hits. He also stole 12 bases and carried a fielding average of 1.0. 

The best part of baseball in high school, for Barker, has been playing and enjoying the game with his teammates.

"I'm ready to get after it with the guys and have one last good season," Barker said.

Frances Holladay, senior at Owen High, signed to play softball at Spartanburg Methodist College on Feb. 2.

Holladay, a skilled multisport athlete, also made appearances on the tennis court in fall 2021. 

Holladay began playing softball as a child. She said she most appreciates the community and familial aspect of the game, how there's always someone who's got her back. 

In the 2020-21 season, Holladay hit .115 over the course of 31 plate appearances with six runs and three hits. As a center fielder, Holladay averaged a fielding percentage of .905

Recruited as a pitcher as well as a center fielder, Holladay said she chose Spartanburg Methodist because she saw the similarities between the school and herself. 

"I feel like I could contribute a lot to it and it could contribute a lot to me," Holladay said. 

She said the deal was sealed when she realized the coach's dog had the same name as her own pet dog. 

Ezra Maille covers the town of Black Mountain, Montreat and the Swannanoa Valley. Reach him at