By Joey Bennett
TERRE HAUTE — Many people rate intelligence, besides the obvious need for skill, as one of the most desirable qualities for a baseball player.
It’s no wonder, then, that Holy Cross is thrill to be adding Terre Haute North senior Parker Fulkerson to its program next year.
Fulkerson committed last month to play collegiately for the Worcester, Mass., school, which plays at the Division I level in the Patriot League. He was recently notified of his acceptance to the College and its respected pre-med program, and plans to major in math or physics and take required pre-med classes.
Fulkerson has played all over the infield for North and the Wayne Newton Post 346 summer team, and will be the Patriot shortstop this year.
Holy Cross Coach Greg DiCenzo said it’s rare that a player will send a video of his highlights that he gets extremely excited about, but it happens.
“Parker did that, and soon thereafter we had an opportunity to watch him play this past summer at Harvard University,” DiCenzo said. “We were impressed with his athleticism as well as his competitiveness in the games he played.
“A fantastic student in the classroom, Parker is a versatile player who we hope will contribute early in his career at the Division I level.”
Fulkerson was an all-Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference and all-Wabash Valley selection last spring, and was the second baseman for the successful Wayne Newton team last summer.
The 6-2, 175-pounder hit .270 last spring with two home runs and eight doubles.
North Coach Shawn Turner feels Fulkerson has found himself an excellent collegiate home.
“Holy Cross is getting as close to a perfect prospect as a collegiate program could expect,” said Turner, who adds another name to his lengthy list of Patriots moving on to the Division I level. “He is tall and lanky, but possesses the frame and work ethic to get much stronger. He has very good speed, a strong arm, can play anywhere on the field defensively, and is able to take advantage of the bunting game when he isn’t being an offensive leader.”
Turner knows he only has one more season with Fulkerson on his squad, but he’s going to enjoy it to the fullest.
“More than anything else, Parker Fulkerson is an excellent person,” Turner said. “He is motivated academically and will be a positive contributor to our community in many areas that are much more important than just the great game of baseball … what a fantastic young man he is!
“The Patriots will be successful again in 2010 due to the nucleus of sharp players on the field and in the classroom of which Parker is a part.”
Fulkerson is also an accomplished tennis player, playing No. 1 doubles for North’s sectional and regional championship team last fall and being selected to the All-District, All-State Honorable Mention and All-State Academic tennis teams.
He will only be playing baseball at Holy Cross.
“That’s been my favorite sport since Little League,” he said. “My career at North has made me a lot more versatile. I started at third base as a sophomore, I played a lot of second base as a junior but I ended the season playing shortstop. This past summer I played second base for Post 346, which gave me a great opportunity to become a well-rounded infielder.
“I have been working to improve my hitting and arm strength this offseason.”
Fulkerson credits the North coaches with helping him achieve the heights he’s achieved on the baseball diamond.
“Coach Turner has been the most instrumental in my development as a player and a teammate,” he said. “I learned the importance of being a steady player and not getting caught up in the emotions of the game from him. He has helped develop my abilities as both a hitter and a fielder. Also, North’s assistant coaches [Lance Walsh and Fay Spetter] have taught me a lot about the intricacies of the game.”
Holy Cross finished the 2009 season with an overall record of 22-27 and an 11-7 record in Patriot League play. This season marked the first time in school history that the Crusaders played in back-to-back Patriot League tournaments, and the first back-to-back 20-win seasons since the 1922 and 1923 seasons.
Fulkerson is looking forward to joining the up-and-coming Crusader program.
“Coach DiCenzo thinks my versatility will serve the Crusaders well and he thinks I have the ability to play middle infield and third base,” Fulkerson said. “Holy Cross will be graduating a couple starting infielders this year and I will be competing with a lot of younger guys for playing time at those positions.”
I I I
n Meggs signs — Former Terre Haute North basketball standout Kelly Meggs signed her letter-of-intent last month to play college basketball for California-Irvine.
Meggs averaged 13.5 points and 3.0 steals per game a year ago for the Patriots, and is now a senior member of the Bellevue High School team in Washington after her father became head baseball coach at the University of Washington.
Cal-Irvine Coach Molly Goodenbour likes the intelligence and versatility of Meggs.
“Kelly is a good combo guard who can play the one or the two,” Goodenbour said. “She is a coaches’ kid who is smart and relentless.”
n Coldren likes new Sycamore — Indiana State softball coach Brenda Coldren is looking forward to adding Terre Haute North senior Danielle Ketner to her program next year.
“Danielle is a very well-rounded athlete that we will look to utilize at a number of positions,” she said. “She has a tremendous up-side and has the potential to make an impact once she adjusts to the college game.
“With Danielle’s athleticism and work ethic, she will make an outstanding addition to the Sycamore softball program and I am excited that Danielle has chosen Indiana State to continue her career.”
n Daugherty sidelined — Terre Haute South grad Brooke Daugherty had ACL surgery Oct. 2 — her third ACL surgery and the second on her left knee. An e-mail from her father said she is progressing with her rehab, but it is doubtful she will be able to play before the season is completed. Her goal is to get her knee as healthy and to have a productive and fun final season next year, her senior year in school.
n Spud a Gagliardi finalist — DePauw senior quarterback Spud Dick is among the final four candidates for the 2009 Gagliardi Trophy as the outstanding Division III football player.
Dick, who was named one of 10 finalists two weeks ago, was the top player selected from the South Region. He joins Union (N.Y.) College senior quarterback John Peters, Augustana (Ill.) College senior offensive tackle Blaine Westemeyer and Monmouth (Ill.) junior quarterback Alex Tanney.
The National Winner will be announced on Tuesday, and the recipient will be presented with the trophy on Thursday as part of the festivities leading up to the Division III National Championship game played in Salem, Va., on Saturday.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches and coaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.