Hunt High's Parker Garris will continue his baseball career at Wake Technical Community College. Tom Ham | Times
By Tom Ham
Senior Staff Writer
Parker Garris suspected his chances of continuing to play baseball beyond the current American Legion season were fast vanishing.
But late in Garris’ senior season at Hunt High, feelers trickled in. Garris, a right-handed pitcher, outfielder and infielder, pursued the inquiry from Wake Technical Community College, contacted head coach Eric Sibrizzi, attended a tryout and has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his career with the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Region 10 member.
North Carolina Wesleyan and Delaware State also expressed interest late, but, said Garris: “Wake Tech was the best fit for me. I had a really good connection with the pitching coach (interim Wilson Tobs head coach Sean Willingham); he pushed me a lot. I need to develop for two years and add more to my game before trying to play at a four-year school.”
Wake Tech posted a 30-22-1 record in 2017 and finished 16-10 in the region. Eligible returning players are substantial.
Garris expects his immediate role to be that of a middle-relief pitcher and third baseman.
“They have a lot of guys coming back,” the 6-foot, 185-pound Garris admitted. “It’s up to me. If I work hard and stay focused, I can earn a spot.”
Garris is simply elated no one is yet telling him he can’t play any more.
“After the Easter tournament, I got a couple more looks,” Garris, the 17-year-old son of Bert and Amy Garris, commented. “I thought it was going to be my last season; thankfully it’s not.”
Garris spent four years on the Hunt High varsity, and he also played soccer his senior year. On the diamond his senior season, he played an integral role in the Warriors winning the 3-A Big East Conference regular-season championship and reach the second round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs.
He batted .297 with one home run and eight runs batted in. On the mound, Garris posted a 3-1 record and 1.43 earned run average. He notched 36 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings.
Hunt head coach Jon Smith revealed that Garris did not display his late junior-season form until his mechanics were tweaked. His velocity picked up and, said Smith: “His curve ball is good as any.”
“He went awhile without pitching, but he came on,” Smith continued. “He needs more velocity, but he’s versatile and has got a shot to continue to improve. He will have success on the mound and I hope they can find a position for him. Parker has gotten more consistent as he’s grown older. He’s in a good situation; he can upgrade his game and find a place to play (beyond Wake Tech).”
Necessary in preparing for the next level, said Garris, is strengthening his arm, becoming stronger and faster and developing his change-up.
“I am excited to play anywhere and be able to pitch,” Garris remarked.”I am excited to keep on pitching; I love to pitch. It’s really exciting that I get to push myself now and see how good I can be. It really falls on my shoulders.”
The possessor of a 3.2 grade-point average, Garris plans to enroll in Wake Tech’s transfer program. He’s uncertain of an area of study. Garris just wants to keep playing baseball.