Westfield High School senior Avery Parker was a bit forced to trade in her pompoms.
“I was cheerleader until I was 10,” Parker said. “My dad picked me up from a tumbling class and handed me a mitt and said I was going to play softball.”
It proved to be the right decision as Parker is headed to play softball for Indiana University on scholarship.
Parker had two major goals, one personal and one team, entering the season. She has already smashed her personal goal of breaking the school’s all-time home run record of 25. She has nine already to give her 28 in her career.
Now, she just has get her team goal of breaking the school’s single-season record for wins, which is 16. As of April 25, the Shamrocks were 9-4 and 2-1 in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference.
Through the first 13 games, Parker was hitting .526 with 28 runs batted in.
“All around as a team we’ve been doing better than we have in past years,” she said. “My input helps build the team up. If they see I can do it, they can do it.”
Parker is a catcher and infielder.
“I play wherever they need me,” said Parker, who also hopes to play in the North-South All-Star game.
As a junior, Parker batted .588 with 12 homers and 38 RBIs. She hit .489 with seven homers as a freshman. The 2020 season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parker said she was recruited by IU as a catcher and to play at the corners in the infield.
“I love catching, but honestly, I like playing everywhere,” she said.
The 5-foot-9 Parker said her biggest improvement has been an increase in power.
“I’ve built up strength as I’ve gotten older, so I’ve hit the ball harder,” she said. “A lot of balls I hit that would have been fly outs have turned into home runs. Line drives that would have been groundouts have turned into doubles and triples. My speed has developed more. When I get on base, I like to steal bases.”
Parker said playing travel softball with Indiana Magic Gold has helped her see more pitchers with speed.
“In travel softball, we play some Power 5 Division I commits, so they throw some heat,” she said.
Parker said she has always wanted to play in the Big Ten and IU seemed like a great fit.
“I know (IU’s coaches) are going to develop me in the best way,” said Parker, who plans to major in psychology and wants to become a forensic psychologist.
Her brother, Aidan Parker, is a 2020 WHS graduate and an offensive lineman for Youngstown State University’s football team.
Favorite TV shows: “Criminal Minds” and “Gilmore Girls”
Favorite athlete: Colts lineman Quenton Nelson
Favorite vacation spot: Colorado