PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast's Brandon Parker has been named the ABCA/Rawlings NJCAA Division II All-American Baseball Player of the Year for his record-breaking season.
"It's an honor," he said. "I'd like to thank everybody who helped me get to where I am today and the coaches who voted for me. There are a lot of kids who would love to have this honor, and there are so many great players out there. I'm just very thankful for this award, and I have to thank God."
Parker, a right fielder from West Harrison High School, nearly won the MACJC Triple Crown this year. He led the state with 24 home runs, two off the national lead, to set a new MGCCC record and led the country with 81 RBI. His .424 batting average was fifth-best in Mississippi.
"I couldn't be more proud of Brandon and what he has accomplished this year," Gulf Coast coach Rodney Batts said. "The humbleness he carried himself with all year says a lot about his character and the kind of person that he is."
Parker reached base 50 percent of the time and slugged .932 with 14 doubles and two triples. He had a pair of three-home run games, one seven-RBI game and three six-RBI games. He also had a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage roaming the outfield.
Parker achieved great things off the field in his freshman year, too. He was named to the NJCAA All-Academic Third Team and the MACJC Academic All-State Team.
"It's always good to have accomplishments like this for someone on your team," Batts said, "but it's even more gratifying when it happens to someone who is one of your hardest workers on the team and one of the best teammates we had."
Parker played a big role in leading the Bulldogs to their first appearance in a region tournament since 2012, where MGCCC was eliminated by eventual national champ LSU-Eunice. He batted .391 with four home runs and 10 RBI in six playoff games.
"Every day we put in so many hours on the field and in the cages," Parker said. "Even when we're not at the field, we're still thinking about the next game and how we're going to win. Coach Batts had us ready to play anybody who stepped on the field with us. All the hard work and dedication paid off."
Parker became MGCCC's 24th All-American earlier this month. He is just the third MACJC player to win National Player of the Year since 2001.
He is playing with the New Market Rebels this summer. New Market, about 60 miles north of Charlottesville, is part of the 11-team Valley Baseball League in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It's a wood-bat league sanctioned by Major League Baseball.
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCAthletics on Twitter and BulldogLIVE on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.