Parker leads Grant to second quarterfinals appearance in school history
DRY PRONG, La. (KALB) - Success on the diamond has started to become more consistent for the Grant Cougars.
Prior to 2016, the Cougars had never advanced to the quarterfinals, but that is where the team finds themselves this year once again, hoping to take it one step further and get to the state tournament for the first time in school history.
The Cougars have been led by a group of seven seniors, but this season’s success almost had to be done without one of their team leaders, Brady Parker.
The multi-sport athlete at Grant suffered a torn ACL last September on the football field that ended his senior season and put his baseball season in jeopardy.
“I had a lot of worry about missing the season,” said Parker. “I had a mindset to get back, and I worked really hard. Physical therapy worked me to death. They knew my goal, and they helped me get back to where I wanted to be.”
The recovery process has been a long, tiring journey for Parker, but he stayed determined to return to the diamond for his final season.
“It was rough, not just physically but rough mentally,” said Parker.
Grant’s head baseball coach Ashley Mercer, who also serves as a coach for the football team, was worried when he saw Parker go down with the injury last year, but knew that his work ethic would not keep him sidelined for long.
“He never wallered in being hurt,” said Coach Mercer. “He was always working to get better. That’s because of the type of player he is but also because of the encouragement from those other six seniors that he’s grown up playing with.”
The other seniors held their ground until Parker could return to the field for action, and when he did, the team began to showcase their talent.
Parker is not only third on the team with a .373 batting average, but he also leads the team with 29 RBIs. While his bat has been on fire, Parker’s talent on the mound is what has caught people’s attention.
The senior is 7-0 on the mound with a sub-one ERA. He has also struck out 65 batters in just 39 innings of work.
“Once he got back we just started to gel,” said Coach Mercer. “Whenever we started to gel is when we started to see us playing better baseball.”
Parker will be given the ball on the mound in game one of a best of three series in the quarterfinals against the number one seed in Class 3A in Berwick.
“I’ve always loved stepping on the mound to start the game, and I love setting the tone,” said Parker. “When you’re on the mound and they say first-pitch strike, that sets the tone for the whole game. I feel the confidence that these guys have behind me, and I have confidence in them behind me also.”
Game one for the Cougars against Berwick will be Friday, May 6 at 6 p.m.
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