South Central senior Parker Gabhart is the vocal leader of the No. 1 baseball team in Class A. He’s hitting .607 with 16 RBIs, and he’s 2-0 on the mound without allowing an earned run. He’s also pulling off a unique double of playing baseball and golf, and he’s the class president and salutatorian.
Courier-Journal: South Central is ranked No. 1 in Class A, which puts a target on your team. How do you handle that?
Parker Gabhart: It can make you nervous. Every time you lose, that’s the first thing that comes to your mind. But we try to practice like we’re trying to get to No. 1. When you play another team, especially a Class A team that sees you as the No. 1 team in the state, you really have to perform.
C-J: Coach (Brian) McKnight talked about your leadership skills as a catcher. What’s the most important aspect of that?
Gabhart: The biggest thing is being vocal. A lot of people have the leadership skills, they just don’t want to yell at their teammates and tell them how to do things. But you have to make sure they know what to do and when to do it in the big moment. You have to be heard. When I was learning to catch, the varsity catcher taught me I had to be loud.
C-J: South Central has established a strong baseball tradition with four straight sectional titles and a regional in 2012. Does that inspire you to maintain that standard?
Gabhart: Absolutely. We want to be able to say we’ve done it, too, and that we’re just as good — if not better. We don’t want to let people down.
C-J: Playing baseball and golf at the same time is a unique double in spring sports. Does your golf swing mess up your swing in baseball?
Gabhart: It’s tiring, but it’s worth it. I think I keep the swings different. My golf swing is very baseball oriented. It’s easier to translate than you think.
C-J: You’re a contact hitter rather than a power hitter in baseball. Are you a big bomber in golf?
Gabhart: That’s all I am. My short game needs work. In golf I can hit the ball 300 yards, but I can’t chip at all.
C-J: As the class salutatorian, where do academics rank in your list of priorities?
Gabhart: It’s always been No. 1. My parents have always drilled that. If I got a bad grade, I would have been pulled out of sports pretty quickly.
C-J: Who has been your role model?
Gabhart: Peers and my past teammates. They set really good examples, as far as being involved in everything at school, like the National Honor Society and being a class president. I wanted to be like them.
C-J: Are you glad you attended a small school?
Gabhart: It has its benefits and negatives. But if I went to Jeffersonville or Floyd Central, I wouldn’t be able to play golf and baseball. I would have to choose one. So I get to experiment and do my own thing.
C-J: What have you learned from playing high school sports?
Gabhart: You learn a great work ethic. Your coaches don’t want you showing up 20 minutes late to practice. If you get a job and show up 20 minutes late, you’re fired. So that definitely carries over into real life.
C-J: You have to give two speeches at graduation. What will you talk about, and will anyone listen?
Gabhart: I hope I can give them something to think about. I will be saying a lot of ‘thank yous’ to students, teachers and parents. Hopefully I can get them to listen.