By Ray Hamill — Arcata’s Nick Parker is taking his talents to one of the top JC programs in the state after announcing he has committed to play college baseball at Ohlone College.
Parker has received interest from some top four-year programs, but opted to play at least one season at the community college level in order to get adjusted to the college life and the collegiate game and enjoy more playing time.
“I just felt it was a better situation for me going to Ohlone,” he said.
Ohlone closed out the 2022 regular season as the top-ranked JC team in California and is one of the last eight remaining teams in this year’s state playoffs with a record of 42-4, including going 20-0 in the Coast South Conference.
Just as importantly, head coach Mike Curran and the Renegades are known for fielding a consistently competitive team and sending players on to the Division-I level.
Curran’s teams have been nationally ranked in each of the last five seasons and 22 of his players have gone on to play D-I ball in that span, with seven of his players earning All-American status.
Parker was recommended to the Renegades last year while playing travel ball for NorCal Baseball, a highly-respected club based in the Manteca area.
And the senior standout immediately liked the prospect of playing at Ohlone.
“I went to a showcase event at the school and I got to see the campus and the field, and after that I talked a little bit to the coaches and I had a visit,” Parker said. “Their head coach is a really energetic guy and I really liked that. He just knows what he’s doing.”
For now, of course, Parker still has some unfinished business to take care of on the high school fields and is looking to close out his Arcata career as a rare two-time North Coast Section medal winner.
Parker was one of a handful of Tigers freshmen who played a big role on the 2019 NCS championship team, and Arcata is the No. 1 seed in the Division-4 bracket this year, with a playoff-opening quarterfinal at the Arcata Ball Park on Saturday night.
The Tigers, who are co-champions of the Big 5 along with Eureka and won the Charlie Lakin Tournament this past weekend, also could have a shot at the inaugural NorCal Regional state championship in the coming weeks.
“I’m really excited to get to sections and see how far we can go,” he said. “They’ve got state for the first time this year and I’m really excited for that.”
Parker is one of four current Arcata players to have played on the 2019 NCS championship team, along with Vincent Agliolo, Alex Gorge and Finn McRae, and that experience should help the team this year, as the NCS playoffs return for the first time in three seasons.
“Obviously, we’re senior heavy, so it’s fun to play with people I’ve been friends with for so long,” Parker said. “I think we’ve got a really good team this year.”
And while he will no doubt remember all the success the Tigers have achieved, it’s certainly not all he’ll remember from his time with the team.
“I just really enjoyed traveling in the vans with everyone,” he said.
Parker says he will major in either engineering or business, and hopes to move on to a four-year program after this time at Ohlone, having already received some interest from UC Davis and Saint Mary’s.
“I definitely want to improve as a player and get bigger and stronger,” he said. “And enjoy the college experience, athletically and academically.”