CCS Sophomore of the Year
AARON PARKER, LOS ALTOS
Aaron Parker’s role on Los Altos’ 2018 CCS Division I championship team was significant, even though he was just a freshman at the time. But after becoming a regular starter and hitting over .300 in his first year of high school baseball, Parker exploded in his second season, becoming one of the top hitting catchers in Northern California and pacing the Eagles to a 22-win season.
Parker’s sophomore campaign did not start with a bang, as the 5-foot-8 backstop collected just two hits in the first three games of the year. But after that came multi-hit games against Branham and Monta Vista, followed by his first home run of the season, in a 5-1 win over Mountain View. It was just the start of things to come, as Parker would go on to hit .461 for the season, slugging seven home runs to go with 15 doubles and 39 RBIs, collecting 41 hits along the way.
“Aaron obviously had a fantastic season, and he set some records along the way, but I think what his teammates will remember most is him being a model teammate and making some sacrifices to help the team,” said Los Altos coach Gabe Stewart. “As an individual player, he was the player that every team had to be aware of and was often the focus of our opponent’s game-planning. That is a lot of pressure to handle and he never let it faze him.”
Not only did Parker handle the pressure, but he thrived as the season wore on, especially in the grueling stretch of league play in a deep De Anza Division. He homered again during key wins over Los Gatos and Wilcox, then set a new school record with a 10-RBI performance during a win over Saratoga. The rising dual-sport star – he also played running back and linebacker as a sophomore on the varsity football team – Parker then strung together four straight multi-hit games, culminating with a 4-for-4, four-RBI day during a 10-7 non-league win over Branham, in which he also homered. He managed that stretch despite getting walked five times during a two-game set against Homestead.
“Aaron is relentless in his drive to get better and always does so in a positive way. He takes championship repetitions in practice, and even when doing yeoman’s work like catching bullpens, setting up the batting cage or taking soft toss, he takes it seriously in a way that sets an example,” Stewart added. “He is not complacent when I think a lot of young men would be, and that is a testament to his maturity. His athletic gifts are of a special nature, but they would be nothing without the exemplary effort and positive attitude he brings every day. He also has the rare ability to not let anything derail him, and he allows any failure to help him become a better player.”
Even as the team struggled down the stretch, Parker continued to remain a force of stability at the plate and behind it. That should come as no surprise, as he knows a thing or two about remaining stable, something which is a daily focus of his as someone who manages Type I diabetes as part of his everyday life. And he used that resiliency to lift the Eagles back up when the CCS playoffs started, going 3-for-4 with three doubles and three RBIs in an 8-0 win over Menlo-Atherton.
The Los Altos season ended in the Eagles’ next game, a 6-5 loss to a Mountain View team it had swept during the regular season, but also one which would go on to eventually win the CCS Division I title, taking Los Altos’ place atop the podium at the end of the year. But Parker refused to go quietly, nearly leading his team to another victory. He went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored at the plate, and kept the Eagles in the game from behind the plate, throwing out four would-be base-stealers. It was a strong finish to an outstanding campaign.
“If a Los Altos Baseball Hall of Fame was to be started this fall and the first class started with five players, he would be in already based on his accomplishments and what the team has accomplished since he arrived as a freshman on the varsity,” Stewart said. “I cannot wait to see what he does in the next two years.”
For his efforts throughout this season, we are pleased to recognize Aaron Parker as the Prep2Prep Central Coast Section Sophomore of the Year.
Other players considered include Valley Christian’s Jonathan Cymrot, Palo Alto’s Aidan Berger, Branham’s Carson Ledesma, Pacific Grove’s Justin Heyn and Pinewood’s Eric Burton.