Even though she is now helping her summer club team advance to a national tournament in California, the prep accolades are still rolling in for Truman High School graduate and three-time Examiner Player of the Year Paige Parker.
The left-handed pitcher was just named the Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year for the third consecutive time and she is a candidate for the Gatorade National Player of the Year, which will be named later this week.
Parker, who will pitch at the University of Oklahoma in the fall, led Truman to four conference and district titles, a Class 4 state runner-up finish in 2010, a state championship in 2012 and a state quarterfinal berth in 2013.
She could have been a strong contender for player of the year status on her offensive stats alone, but she was in a class by herself when she was on the mound.
Her senior season, Parker was 23-2 with a 0.25 earned run average (11 total runs and six total earned runs) and 342 strikeouts in 166 innings (an average of 14.2 strikeouts per seven innings). She pitched seven no-hitters and opponents had an anemic .067 batting average against her.
Lee's Summit's Emily Robinson threw a no-hitter against the Patriots and the Tigers used an unearned run to beat Parker and her Patriot teammates in the 2013 state quarterfinals.
Parker batted .600 with nine home runs, six doubles and 33 RBIs. Her combined on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) was 1.774. Hall of Fame slugger Babe Ruth's highest was 1.379 in 1920.
Over the past three years, Parker was 93-15 with a 0.30 ERA and state-record 1,348 strikeouts. Her career batting average was .493 with 160 hits, 95 walks, 19 home runs and 114 RBIs.
“I think it's safe to say that many of her offensive and pitching statistics will last a lifetime at Truman,” said Amy Temples, who was Truman's softball coach during Parker's reign (Temples announced her resignation as the Patriots softball coach at the end of the school year).
“She is a one-in-a-million athlete and young lady. I'm so proud of her. I never get tired of talking about her. When she won the Gatorade Player of the Year as a sophomore, we talked about what might happen the next three years. And now, she is a three-time winner, which shows what a special athlete she is.
“And the best thing about Paige is that no one works harder, or wants to be more successful for her team and teammates, than Paige. People see her stats, and they don't realize the hours and hours and hours of practice and hard work that made those statistics a reality.”
Parker said winning the award for a third year in a row is as special as the first time she was honored.
“When you win an award like this, it's special the first time,” Parker said, “but when you win it three years in a row it's very special. And it's exciting. Any time I win an award, it gives me the opportunity to thank my parents, my grandparents, my sister, all my coaches and all my teammates – because I wouldn't be winning any awards if it wasn't for them.
“And to be named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Missouri is really special because it shows what type of success we had at Truman the last three years. We won a state championship and came close to winning the other years and for me, personally, it proves to me that hard work and a lot of dedication really pays off.”