One day, a Paige in the Truman High School record book will likely belong to a freshman sensation who burst on the prep softball scene this spring.

One day, a Paige in the Truman High School record book will likely belong to a freshman sensation who burst on the prep softball scene this spring.

Paige Parker is 14-4 with a 0.68 ERA and she is equally successful at the plate, where she is hitting .448 with two homers, 14 doubles and 17 RBIs for coach Steve Broughton’s Patriots.

“She’s pretty good,” Broughton said, in what might be the understatement of the year. “Softball is one of those sports that can be dominated by a good pitcher and she’s been everything we’d hoped for and more.

“We heard a lot about her coming into this year because she’s on a very good competitive summer league team. We didn’t know what to expect, but she’s been a great pitcher and hitter and an even better kid.

“You can’t have too many kids like Paige Parker on your team.”

During a recent game against Blue Springs South, Parker fired a 3-hit shutout and had a double.

“She’s a great young pitcher,” South coach Vickie Brummel said. “There are so many good, young pitchers in the area this year and she’s certainly one of them. We just couldn’t get anything going offensively against her.”

Parker dominates on the mound and at the plate. Yet, away from the game, she is a shy freshman who is still doing her best to fit in at a new school.

“Being a part of this softball team has really helped me get used to Truman and my new surroundings,” said Parker, who has 181 strikeouts in 102 innings, two no-hitters, four one-hitters and seven shutouts this season.

“There are times I feel a little bit awkward as a freshman, but the girls have done everything possible to make me feel like a member of the team. When I’m out there pitching or hitting, I just feel like a softball player at Truman High School and not a freshman who is still trying to find her way around.”

The last time a freshman created a buzz like the one surrounding Parker was two years ago, when Blue Springs’ Kelsey Kessler dominated the sport for the 31-0 Wildcats.

She was 30-0 and led Blue Springs to be first big class undefeated, state championship season in Missouri State High School Activities Association history.

Parker isn’t going to go undefeated this season, but she is a big reason for the success of a Truman softball team that must be reckoned with this season.

“Paige is very, very talented,” Broughton said of his prize freshman. “With her, the sky’s the limit. She’s used to pitching against some of the top competitive teams in the country, so no team around here is going to intimidate her.

“And when she’s on the mound, you can just tell that the girls feel like we’re going to win.”

Jenni Bowen, the Patriots leadoff hitter, agrees with her coach.

“We can play for one run,” said Bowen, whose wind-blown double drove home the only run in the 1-0 victory over South, “because we feel like if we get one run, and Paige is pitching, we’re going to win.

“She’s so good – you just can’t believe she’s a freshman.”

Parker, whose father is Terry Parker, a longtime coach at William Chrisman High School, has been playing softball since the third grade.

“I started playing competitive ball when I was in fifth grade and I just love the sport,” Parker said. “My mom and dad are supportive and I’ve been lucky enough to have been on some very good teams.”

Her summer team, the Originals, placed first out of 10 teams this past summer in the Hall of Fame Tournament in Oklahoma City, Okla., and they placed ninth out of 156 teams at the national tournament in Moline, Ill.

“I’m used to playing against older kids, like we do in high school, because I’ve been on a 14-under team and we play 18-under teams,” Parker said. “I really enjoy playing in the summer, but it’s special to play high school ball because you’re playing for your team and your coaches but you’re also playing for your school – and that’s a special feeling.”

Special.

That’s a word you’re going to be hearing a lot when people talk about the Truman softball team, because a 14-year-old youngster is pretty special when she has a softball or bat in her hands.

You might say this year’s edition of the Patriots is a real Paige turner, unless you happen to be a member of the opposition.

Then, it’s just a classic drama that’s going to have a red, white and blue ending that’s going to put a smile on the face of all Patriot fans.