February 19, 2000
Barb Gaines put together an outstanding career for the SMS softball Bears, starring as an infielder from 1990 to 1993. A native of St. Louis, Mo., Gaines became the first softballer in the combined history of the Gateway/Missouri Valley Conferences to win all-league honors four years in a row. Gaines closed her career with five SMS single season records and eight career marks. She still holds the school career records for hits (252), at bats (626), runs (113) and hitting (.403) and is second in stolen bases (58), putouts (1,013) and total chances (1,287). In her freshman season of 1990, Gaines batted a team-high .354 and led the club in runs, hits, walks and at bats. Gaines led the 1991 squad with a .388 batting average, paced the team in at bats, runs, hits, stolen bases and fielding average, and was selected to the all-Midwest Region second team. During her junior year, she set team single season records for hits (75), at bats (180), runs (39) and batting average (.419), finishing 19th nationally in hitting. She became the first SMS softball All-America as a senior in 1993 when she was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America third team. She enjoyed a brilliant senior year, ranking among the national top 10 in hitting most of the year on her way to a school record .442 mark. She also led the Valley in hits (69). Following the season, she was named to the Academic all-MVC first team. She was voted Missouri Valley co-MVP after hitting .507 in 18 league games. She was named to the SMS All-Decade team in 1991-92 in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the Gateway Conference. Gaines received the SMS Outstanding Female Athlete Award in 1992 and 1993, becoming the first person to earn that honor in back-to-back years.