Parker baseball, softball squads ready for fall competition

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Parker baseball, softball squads ready for fall competition

August 12, 2015 - 11:47
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Players practice Wednesday for the new baseball and 
softball season at Parker Junior High.
(Photo by 
Tom Houlihan/HF Chronicle)

Classes at Parker Junior High School don’t start for another week but the fall sports season is already under way.

Parker’s newly-formed softball and baseball teams started practicing earlier this month and are ready for their first games. The softball team takes on Washington Junior High School from Chicago Heights at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Flossmoor Park, the home field for both Parker teams. The baseball team makes its debut August 17 at Memorial Junior High School in Lansing.

Fifteen girls are participating on the first-ever Falcons softball squad. Eighteen boys are on the baseball team. About half the students who tried out for the teams this summer were picked to play, said Parker Assistant Principal Bruce Brozynski.

Two Parker staff members are coaching the teams. Jennifer Larson, a physical education teacher, is directing the softball team.  Darryl Thompson, a science teacher, is in charge of the baseball team.

The Parker squads are competing in a five-team conference. Besides the Lansing and Chicago Heights teams, Parker will also play against James Hart Junior High School in Homewood and Columbia Central School in Steger. Some non-conference games may also be scheduled, Brozynski said.

Earlier this year, the Flossmoor School District 161 school board approved baseball, softball and Scholastic Bowl as competitive sports at Parker. All three are sanctioned by the Illinois Elementary School Association and Parker teams will take part in the state tournament for all three sports.

Parker already offers IESA-sanctioned competition in cross country, track, basketball and volleyball. Cross country is also a fall sport. Baseball and softball have a nine-week season.

In February, Brozynski said parents approached the Flossmoor Baseball Association asking them to support baseball and softball at the junior high. Members of the association, in turn, asked school district officials to consider baseball and softball as a way for junior high students to compete once the summer ball seasons are over.

The three new sports are expected to cost about $12,500 a year.

Brozynski – who is the unofficial athletic director at Parker -- said this week that there are “lots of details” in starting new sports but that, for the most part, the entire process has gone smoothly. He thanked the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District for its cooperation in getting the Flossmoor Park baseball and softball fields ready for junior high play.

Players on Parker’s two new teams appear to have previous experience playing ball on a competitive level, Brozynski said. But he added that they seem very excited to be representing Parker.

“They’re working hard,” he said.”I know the girls got their uniforms today and they were excited about that.”