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Out Of The Park-er - Multi-Talented Oakdale Grad Lands Softball Scholarship
5-18 Oak Parker Signs
The 2011 Valley Oak League pitcher of the year, Brianna Parker, signed a letter of intent recently to play softball with Texas Southern University on a partial scholarship. She is pictured here with coaches Larry Loger, Kelly Olson, Mike Olson, C.J. Parker, Pete Cordova, Corey Reid and Jamie Terra. - photo by IKE DODSON/THE LEADER
The best home run hitter in Oakdale High softball history is even better on the mound.
Four-year varsity ace and two-year Valley Oak League pitcher of the year, Brianna Parker, recently signed a letter of intent to play NCAA Division I softball at Texas Southern University on a partial scholarship.
The commitment inks the 2011 graduate to join a quality program at the next level just months after she carried Oakdale into the consolation championships of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
“It’s really exciting for me,” Parker said. “I understand it is still softball but now I get to start all over with a whole new level.
“Division I hitters are going to force me to step my game up both mentally and physically.”
Parker was a big part of Oakdale’s run to a 22-8-1 season this year and the team’s impressive 83-34-3 stanza since she joined the program as a varsity player her freshman year.
And it has been both facets of her game that has led to the Lady Mustang success. Her first at-bat home run in Oakdale’s extra inning to Los Banos in the SJS consolation championships on May 20 improved her own team record to an impressive 11 career home runs.
She passed stellar alumni Andrea Lutz (nine home runs) earlier in the season, and set a high bar for current Oakdale sluggers like 2011 team offensive MVP, Shelby Cordova.
But it’s Parker’s arm, not her bat, that coaches at Texas Southern University are most interested in.
The Lady Tigers captured their second straight Southwestern Athletic Conference title this season on the backs of a powerful hitting corps. The school brought home four of the top six conference honors (player of the year, newcomer of the year, freshman of the year and coach of the year) this season. And 2012 shouldn’t be much different, considering the team expects to return all its all-conference hitters and sported just two seniors on the roster. And with sluggers poised to continue success at the plate, Parker should be in prime position to find appearances and victories on the mound. Despite a 12-3 conference record, Texas Southern pitchers struggled to a combined 6.26 earned run average. Pitchers who saw over 50 innings pitched combined for a sub-par 25-28 overall record with 27 home runs surrendered to opposing hitters.
“The coach at Texas Southern has sent me weekly newspapers and stats, showing me that the team has been improving as a whole,” Parker said. “I know he wants the girls to work even harder and continue to improve.
“He has pretty much told me that I have to earn my position, but said that if I am working hard and giving it my all, he will give me some chances to work my way onto the field.”
Oakdale coach Larry Loger said he expects big things from his four-year star who showed some big strides from an eager youngster to the savvy competitor she is today.
“She has progressed a lot, and part of that came from her developing a dominating change up,” Loger said. “She has a way to keep hitters off balance, and she has come through in some big games for us.”
Parker said she owes the progression to a barrage of coaches that mentored her game. It started with her father (C.J. Parker) on a bucket taking pitches at local parks, and continued with the likes of Pete Cordova (Valley Magic), Corey Reid (OBS Monarchs), Jaime Terra (pitching coach) and the prep staff at Oakdale High.
“They all just stuck with me and made me better,” Parker said. “We have all grown to understand and respect each other.”