The honors keep rolling in for Truman High School graduate Paige Parker, The Examiner’s 2013 Softball Player of the Year.
She recently was named a first-team All-American by StudentSportsSoftball.com, and Monday morning, in a ceremony at Truman High School, she was honored as the Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year for the third time (freshman, junior and senior years).
Parker led the Patriots to a state runner-up finish as a freshman, a state title as a junior and a state quarterfinal finish as a senior.
This past season, she was 23-3 with a 0.25 ERA, seven no-hitters and 342 strikeouts in 166 innings. She also hit .600 with nine home runs and 33 RBIs. She was 93-15 with an 0.30 ERA and a career state-record 1,348 strikeouts and hit .493 with 19 home runs and 114 RBIs in her career at Truman.
“Personally, Paige is one of the most humble people I have ever encountered,” Truman activities director Eric Holm said before presenting Parker with her award. “She is so personable, such a great student, we are going to miss her on the field and in the classrooms at Truman.”
Mandee Berg, an assistant coach at Truman the past five years who recently was named to replace Amy Temples as the head coach, praised Parker.
“As the pitching coach at Truman, I didn’t see Paige as a player, I saw her as a peer,” said Berg, a Blue Springs graduate and former All-American pitcher for the University of Central Missouri. “She was a great player and a great teammate.”
The low-key Parker made sure to share her latest award with her teammates and coaches.
“This award is a testament to my teammates and coaches,” Parker said as her parents, Kim and Terry, looked on. “We were like a family. We all cared so much about each other. I’m really going to miss my teammates at Truman, but I’m looking forward to Oklahoma.”
She has had a busy summer, pitching her summer-league team to a second-place finish at the Boulder (Colorado) Independence Day Tournament on the Fourth of July. She leaves for the West Coast Friday for the California Girls Softball National Tournament.
“The best of the best will be in the tournament at California,” Parker said. “I’m really excited about that tournament.”
She leaves for the University of Oklahoma Aug. 13 and is excited about that new chapter in her life.
“I’ve been to OU a few times, and I’m going to be living in a brand new dorm, which I’m really excited about,” she said. “This will be the second year students have lived in the dorm. It’s a new chapter in my life, and I can’t wait to see what college is all about.”
When asked if she had one special moment in her sterling prep career, Parker had a ready answer.
“Of course, winning state my junior year was the best,” she said, smiling. “But my senior year, we went to Ozark for a tournament that we go to every year. The bus ride back was so much fun. We were really silly and I know we annoyed our coaches, but that was just so much fun. I’ll always remember that bus ride.”
Truman also honored state long jump champion Lexi Hart Monday morning (a story on her will appear in an Examiner sports section later this week).