UNION TWP. – Free moments have been few and far between for Glen Este High School graduate Brooke Parker this summer.
On the other hand, her moments spent honing her softball skills have been rewarding. Roughly a week after ending an 18-5 campaign with the Glen Este Lady Trojans, Parker suited up for the 18U Beverly Bandits DeMarini Gold team.
“We’re actually considered the Ohio team, but we do have girls from outside of Ohio,” Parker said. “We get DeMarini bats and bags. It’s awesome!”
This was her second year on the team and probably her best considering the Bandits recently won the USA/ASA (American Softball Association) Gold 18U National Championship in Portland, Oregon. The Bandits qualified in Mississippi and proceeded to the Northwest as one of 54 teams.
“It’s one of the best national tournaments,” Parker said. “Our picture goes in the National (Softball) Hall of Fame in Oklahoma. It was such a big achievement and an amazing feeling.”
The Bandits also played tournaments in Indianapolis and Columbus this season. A four-year starter for Glen Este, Parker never had to try out for the elite squad.
“You get known by how well you do,” Parker said. “In my case, I was asked to play by my pitching coach.”
Parker’s prep pitching was fairly dominant. She won 17 games, struck out 198 in 155 innings, had eight shutouts and a 0.81 ERA. She was also among the Eastern Cincinnati Conference hitting leaders with a .537 average and 44 hits in 24 games, including a pair of home runs and 25 runs batted in.
However, in Oregon, it was more slinging than swinging for the lefty.
“We got some chances to hit, but none of us (pitchers) were in the lineup the whole season,” Parker said. “That was hard for me because I love hitting. But, all of the girls on the team are going to play Division I softball and they’re all great hitters. It was a great line-up.”
At Bowling Green, she hopes to be both in the circle and the batter’s box.
“I’m hoping they let me hit,” Parker said. “We actually just got a new coach, Sarah Willis. Hopefully I’ll be able to get into the lineup. She seems to play who is the best.”
Parker moves in to her Bowling Green dorm Aug. 20 and will major in childhood education. Her hope is someday coach her own team. This spring, her father, Jim Parker, helped coach Glen Este along with John Miller as head coach Dorothy Scharfenberger had maternity leave.
Next spring the Parker family figures to develop a familiarity with Interstate 75 road conditions as they make the trek back and forth to see Brooke at Bowling Green.
“My parents go to everything,” Parker said. “They’re my No. 1 fans. They’ll probably be at every single game.”