The honors keep rolling in for Truman High School graduate Paige Parker, who just wrapped up a storybook softball career at the University of Oklahoma.
Parker, a four-time All-American pitcher for the Sooners, was selected Tuesday as the 2017-18 Big 12 Female Sportsperson of the Year.
The Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year Awards began in 2000-01 to annually recognize student-athletes who display a degree of sportsmanship, community service and academic achievement. This year’s winners were selected by a media panel.
“It’s an amazing honor,” Parker said by phone from Viera, Fla., where she is a member of the USSSA Pride National Pro Fastpitch league team that will play July 9 and 10 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kansas. “Looking back at the past four years, I take a lot of pride in what we accomplished as a team and what I was able to accomplish in the classroom and in the Norman (Oklahoma) community.”
Parker recently completed her four-year career with the Sooners and graduated in May with a degree in arts and sciences/planned program.
The former three-time Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year is just the third Sooner to earn All-America status four times. She is also the second pitcher in the history of the conference to be named Big 12 Pitcher of the Year four times.
Each season, Parker registered an ERA below 1.70 and held opponents below a .200 batting average, including a career-best 0.82 ERA and .155 opponent batting average in 2018.
She went 31-3 (123-18 for her career) with one no-hitter, eight shutouts and seven complete games this past season, when he led the Sooners to a third straight Women’s College World Series appearance. She totaled 213 strikeouts against just 38 walks to bring her career total to 968 strikeouts.
“The past four years went by so quickly,” said Parker, who said she will return home to Independence once the National Pro Fastpitch season concludes. “I have had some time to reflect on all our accomplishments. I had such great teammates all four years. We were really like a family and we were able to have a lot of fun and success.”
Parker always preferred standing the shadows while she pointed the spotlight at her Sooner teammates. After earning her 100th career win in March, Parker credited her teammates for her success, saying, “It’s pretty special to share this with my teammates because without them, there would be no wins.”
Parker would always stay later after both road and home games to sign autographs and take photos with fans, especially young ladies who dreamed of being the next Paige Parker.
“I am really working hard to help grow the sport of softball, and hope that our pro league is a success so little girls who want to play in college and the pros have that opportunity,” Parker said. “I enjoy being a role model and love to visit with fans after games.”
Parker has volunteered with the OK Kids Korral, the Rivermont Senior Center, the Oklahoma City Children’s Hospital and Washington Elementary School in Norman.
Parker was also a leader in the classroom, where she was named a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American and Academic All-Big 12 Honoree.
In 2018, Parker was named a Senior CLASS Award first-team selection, earned the Big 12 Conference Medal Award and received the Big 12 Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award.