Hydrick put together record season for Eagles

HANOVERTON–United’s Parker Hydrick went from not being sure he’d be able to play baseball this season to finding his name all over the school record book.

The senior catcher recovered from a broken collarbone suffered early during football season to set eight school records on the baseball diamond as he helped the Eagles stay in the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference race for a good chunk of the season.

“When I broke my collarbone, I thought that was it for baseball this season. I didn’t think I was going to be able to play,” Hydrick said.

However, as the months progressed, Hydrick’s injury healed better than expected and the outlook began to change.

“After a little while, the plan was for me to play second base and have someone DH for me until my strength came back,” Hydrick said. “But when it came time to practice I was throwing the ball a lot better than anticipated. That’s when I thought I might be ready to go.”

As it turned out, Hydrick was more than ready.

He compiled one of the best seasons in school history, batting .646 with two homers, 31 RBIs, 53 hits and 12 doubles. Hydrick also stole 22 bases in 23 attempts and finished with a .663 on-base percentage and .866 slugging percentage. According to records certified by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, Hydrick’s .646 average is the ninth highest in state history.

Hydrick’s batting average, hits, doubles and RBIs were all single-season school records. He also graduates with career records in batting average (.406), hits (118), doubles (20) and runs scored (80).

While coming back strong from injury and having a successful senior year were certainly motivating factors for Hydrick, he entered the season with something far more important on his mind.

“My grandmother passed away during basketball season, that’s one of the things that drove me all year,” Hydrick said. “Knowing she was looking down on me gave me a lot of motivation.”

Hydrick began catching in middle school and wound up growing into a four-year fixture behind the plate for the Eagles.

“I was the only catcher on the roster when I came up to high school, so it kind of fell into place,” Hydrick said. “I’ve always loved catching. You’re involved in every aspect of the game. It’s a position that forces you to pay attention and be mentally strong.”

Entering this season, he felt more comfortable and confident then ever before at the plate. With Hydrick hitting the ball at a blistering rate, the Eagles surged into a share of first place in the EOAC early in the season before eventually giving way to perennial powerhouse Toronto, a Div. IV state semifinalist.

“Other than getting a lot stronger over the years, I would say my biggest improvement has been reading the ball a lot better out of the pitchers’ hand,” Hydrick said. “I came up with a lot more confidence than in years past.”

After rolling over conference foe Columbiana to open the postseason, the Eagles’ season ended with an 8-1 Div. III sectional final loss to state semifinalist Canton Central Catholic.

Hydrick will seek to continue his baseball career this fall when he walks on at Bowling Green State University.

“Ever since my dad coached me in little league, baseball has always been our thing, and I wanted to go all-in with it,” Hydrick said. “Walking on next year is going to demand a lot of focus and I’m excited for the opportunity.”

Hydrick also knows he has left quite a legacy behind at United.

“It means a great deal to me,” Hydrick said. “It gives someone coming up something to shoot for and shows that no goal is too small.”