The pipeline of Southern Arizona talent to New Mexico State continues as does the ascent of talent from Sabino’s dominant program to the college ranks.
Sabino Class of 2021 right-hander Joey Parker, the recruiting focus of many Division I programs, has committed to New Mexico State, according to Baseball’s Next Level, of which Parker is a participant.
Parker, who was 3-0 without allowing an earned run in 9 1/3 innings this season at Sabino, joins seven other Sabercats from this season who have committed to a college.
Junior shortstop and outfielder Jacob Wiltshire also committed to New Mexico State, reported here in April, with the unbelievable reality that he has played only nine varsity games in his young high school career.
The others, all seniors, are outfielder Morgan Altherr (Colorado-Colorado Springs), senior left-hander and first baseman Andrew Calloway (Arizona Western JC), catcher Brayden Graham (Paradise Valley JC), outfielder and left-handed pitcher Jack Langan (Cornell (Iowa) College) and infielder Dylan Tebou (Williston (N.D.) State).
Sabino, coached by Shane Folsom, has been one of the most dominant programs in Southern Arizona over the last few years, winning the 3A state title games in 2018 and 2019.
Parker, who is 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, was recruited by Division I programs such as Washington State, Mississippi State, Ohio State and Hawaii among others.
“I just try to get better and stronger every day in the weight room, the classroom, too,” Parker told me last fall when he pitched a five-inning no-hitter against Casa Grande to lead the Sabercats to the title of the Michael Acevedo Tournament.
He had 20 strikeouts and only three walks in the four games he pitched in this season before COVID-19 cut the season short.
New Mexico State has benefited from Tucson talent in recent years, most notably from infielder Nick Gonzales, a Cienega standout who blossomed into a two-time All-American, Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year and the seventh pick overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the MLB draft two weeks ago.
Tristan Peterson, a standout from CDO, and Gonzales earned a spot on the first team of the Academic All-Americans by College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Peterson, a senior infielder, was also a 2019 Academic All-WAC honoree. He held a perfect 4.0 GPA in the classroom.
Others from Southern Arizona on the Aggies’ roster include Nogales sophomore shortstop Kevin Jimenez, Sahuarita junior left-hander Brendan Rodriguez, and Sahuarita sophomore right-hander Chris Barraza.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.