Hubbard signs with Brevard
By Mike London
LANDIS — Parker Hubbard drove back from Brevard’s freshman orientation on Thursday with a lot on his mind.
There were thoughts of an unexpectedly long high school season at South Rowan and thoughts about an unexpectedly short American Legion summer.
There were even some thoughts about a future in college baseball and as a lawyer.
Hubbard, still growing and still filling out, signed very late in the recruiting process, but there’s a chance the tall middle infielder could be a find for Brevard, a Division II school that competes with regional powers such as Catawba and Tusculum in the SAC.
Called up to the South varsity to stay at the end of the 2010 season, Hubbard quietly put together a nice high school stat sheet. He hit .309 with 33 RBIs in 149 at-bats for his career and had 18 RBIs as an all-county senior.
And any offense he provided was just a bonus. Every coach agrees his glove is stronger than his bat.
“He was always one of our better defenders, if not the best,” South coach Thad Chrismon said. “Defense-first guys don’t always get recognized, so I’m excited he’s going to get the chance to play on.”
Hubbard has been primarily a second baseman, but he was handed a sudden position switch in mid-March. South was 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the NPC and had just been embarrassed 11-0 by Carson on its home field. Chrismon resorted to drastic measures.
“When I went to practice the next day, he said, “OK, you’re our shortstop,’ ” Hubbard recalls.
So Hubbard moved from second base to shortstop, with jayvee shortstop Eric Goldston promoted to take over at second base. Dylan Goodman, an outfielder who had been pressed into duty at shortstop, headed to center field, where he proved a serious asset.
“After that, our defense kicked in, and we went on one of those Cinderella runs,” Hubbard said.
After tying for fourth in the NPC, South barely qualified for the 3A state playoffs, but then it won road games in each of the first three rounds.
“Parker had a huge role in that playoff run, both offensively and defensively,” Chrismon said.
Saving his best for last, Hubbard was instrumental in all three victories. He was 5-for-8 at the plate, scored four runs and knocked in three. He ended the game at Marvin Ridge with a diving catch that he turned into a double play, delivered the key hit against Asheboro, and started the game-winning rally at Hickory Ridge by lining a two-strike pitch at his ankles into center field for a base hit.
“I was just trying to protect the plate and was able to hit a low fastball up the middle,” Hubbard said. “Everything kind of went sideways for Hickory Ridge after that.”
For most of the spring, Hubbard believed Mars Hill would be his college destination, but a coaching change at that SAC school led to a detour.
South Rowan Legion coach Michael Lowman, who is also a Catawba assistant, called Brevard coaches and opened a new door for Hubbard.
Kevin Allingham, Brevard’s recruiting coordinator, is a Catawba graduate, and that didn’t hurt.
“The head coach (Matt McCay) at Brevard is using Catawba as their model program, and they have a lot of respect for Coach Gantt and Coach Lowman,” Hubbard said. “When Lowman called and said they should look at me, it made a difference. I’m happy about it. It’s a school I really like.”
In college, Hubbard figures to return to second base, where he’s smooth and confident, but he knows now that he can slide over to shortstop if the need arises.
“I’m just going to try my best to get on the field somewhere,” Hubbard said. “I’ll play anywhere they want me.”