By DAVID SILVA
Before his senior year of high school, Jordan Parker was at a crossroads. His baseball career seemed to be over, thanks to a nagging shoulder injury and limited playing time on the team. He hadn’t drawn a glimpse of interest from college coaches.
He told his father that he was still going to play baseball his senior year, but he was going to do it just for fun.
That was not going to be difficult for Parker.
Despite his natural talent, strict diet and teammates who were on their way to play in college, Parker was set on going and playing the game without the pressure.
“I try my best not to get too high not to get too low,” he said. “But mental confidence [has been an adversity].”
About four years later, Parker is Eastfield’s starting left fielder, placing second in the NJCAA Division III in RBIs and ranking eight in home runs. Parker is also a preferred walk-on commit to the University of Arizona’s baseball team for the 2018-2019 school year, an opportunity he earned at the Junior College All-Star Weekend after hitting a grand slam during the game.
Originally from Boston, Parker became a baseball fanatic when he saw the Red Sox break their curse and win World Series.
He began playing baseball at the age of 5 after his family moved to Flower Mound.
In 2004, Parker witnessed the Red Socks breaking their World Series curse, and became a baseball fanatic.
“He got a taste of competitive sports at a young age,” said Parker’s father Ed, who also coached him. “Learned to love the competition, learned to love being on winning teams.”
Parker would often compare himself to a lot of his teammates, pushing himself to reach their skill level if he felt he wasn’t the best.
“The big thing that kept me going is that I kept getting better,” Parker said. “I knew I could improve in certain areas and saw myself improving in those areas.”
One of the players that Parker grew up playing around was two-sport star Kyler Murray. Murray is set to replace Baker Mayfield as Oklahoma’s starting quarterback and centerfielder for the Sooner’s baseball team, with the MLB draft and a seven-figure contract a viable option.
“That was one of the kids he compared himself to,” Ed said.
Parker loved to work out after his games and practices, and he followed a strict diet that was instilled in him by his mother Patti early on.
He doesn’t eat sweets, and would always pack fresh fruits and vegetables for school. During Halloween, Parker would go trick or treating then turn over his candy to others kids.
“He wouldn’t even eat a stick of gum,” Ed said.
Despite his time playing select baseball, when Parker started playing for Liberty Christian’s varsity team his playing time was minimal.
Ed thinks that among other things, the shoulder injury led to burnout. That’s when he decided that he would play his senior year just for the enjoyment.
His senior year he played his best year and was named the school’s Offensive Player of the Year.
“It gave him confidence when that happened,” Ed said. “By that time, his head coach said if he didn’t continue swinging that bat that it would be a waste, because he had one of the best swings he had ever seen since coaching there.”
Following high school, Parker joined The Complete Showcase Post Grad baseball prep program in McKinney. There he continued to perfect his game and was recruited by Blinn Community College.
Following a semester with Blinn, Parker transferred to Eastfield in last spring and has found it a better fit.
“[At Blinn] they just kind of let you play,” he said. “Here, they’re more hands on. They’re going to help you specifically and develop you as a player. I needed that extra help.”
His playing that semester, with 34 hits, a .455 on base percentage and 56 RBIs, resulted in head coach Michael Martin nominating him for the Junior College All-Star Weekend.
“It was a bit more up and down for him as opposed to this year,” Martin said. “His number were good enough. And towards the end of the year I saw him getting better.”
He hit a grand slam during the game, prompting a call from the University of Arizona. Although he wasn’t offered a scholarship, he was offered a spot on the team if he were to attend the university, something Parker plans to do.
“If I perform at the level that I know I can, the goal for me is to enjoy my last two years of college and take it to the next level,” he said.
This season, Parker has increased his productivity even more with the Harvesters. Aside from his 56 RBIs, Parker has had nine home runs and a .429 on-base percentage.
“I’ve been in those game-winning situations and it’s very exciting for me,” he said. “I like being in those pressure situations, to make a difference.”
Parker has been crucial to the Harvester’s offensive attack on the field, according to Martin.
“He’s a laid back guy, he’s a quiet guy,” Martin said. “He goes out there and does his job. He sets an example more with his actions than his words. That goes a long way.”
Despite that relaxed persona, Parker said he hasn’t let up since coming to Eastfield and since the all-star game put him on the radar.
“Before, no one really knew me,” he said. “I go to this all-star game and all this attention comes my way. And that makes my game much better. It’s that mental confidence thing when you have coaches talking to you like that. They’re reassuring you and your ability and that kind of shoots your ability off. This year, I’ve unlocked my mental confidence.”