Small Town to Big Campus: The Parker Hendershot Story


Dan Cevette
President, New York

I feel very strongly about reflecting on how we are impacting player's across New York and also how they are making an impact on us. This week we take a look at Penn State University freshman, Parker Hendershot and his journey from Tioga Center, NY to the big campus of PSU. For reference: Tioga Center has roughly 4,500 residents, Penn State Main Campus has roughly 46,000.

Parker Hendershot 3B / SS / Tioga Central, NY / 2017


THE START

The 2017 graduate of Tioga Central HS was a standout on the baseball field throughout his HS career, most notably his senior campaign where Hendershot dominated the plate for opposing defenses.  However, for us the talent and potential was apparent starting back in 2015.  

We first saw Hendershot back in 2015 at a pre-season showcase event in Albany, NY. At the time, he was athletic but under-developed physically and he was clearly skilled but the tools were raw. Despite this, Hendershot left a lasting impression on me that day as his personality was likeable, manors were polished, his confidence was hard to ignore, and his effort level was premium. 

Hendershot faced two major challenges during his HS career; the lack of consistent  competition during spring baseball and the fact he never played high-end travel baseball. Hendershot was a legion guy and a soon to be PBR NY guy. From 2015-2017 Hendershot attended eight PBR NY events where he consistently showed improvement all while playing legion baseball during the summer.  According to critics, Hendershots chances of going from his small town of Tioga Cenral to a D1 campus as an athlete were slim.  After all not many have accomplished that from his area. 

“Going through middle school and high school, I thought it would be very hard to achieve my goal of playing D1 baseball, that's what I was being told. Division 1 coaches would rarely ever go to a small high school like mine. However, I knew I couldn’t control that, so I just focused on elevating my game in every aspect and I tried to be the best player I could be with a great work ethic. I let the rest take care of itself." Said Hendershot when discussing his perspective on the challenges he faced and how he planned to overcome those obstacles in order to advance to the next level.   

The opinion of those so-called critics changed when Hendershot attended the 2016 NYS Games, which in turn changed his future. In front of nearly 70 college recruiters, Hendershot exploded and it was evident that his talent was nothing to dismiss. Several big at-bats resulted in several big hits which caught the eye of several mid-major D1 programs which eventually led to earning himself a scholarship to Buffalo. I personally saw the journey slowly unfold and watched as the goal of playing D1 baseball became a clear reality, and how his goals elevated to a higher standard. Attending the Super 60. 

SUPER 60 AND THE SPRING

The Super 60 is reserved for the countries best amateur baseball players where nearly 200 MLB scouts attend as a way of seeing these players prior to their senior year - Hendershot wanted in. After months of training, where he added 15-pounds of muscle, Hendershot got the prestigious invite from National Prep Baseball Report. To say he held is own at the event would be down-playing reality. Hendershot walked into the Super 60 relatively unknown nationally, but walked out with the respect of everyone who saw him perform that day. He was top five in bat-speed (over 100 mph w/ wood) showed an impressive arm (90 mph) which boasted very well among all infielders, not just the hard swinging corner guys. His natural athleticism was evidenced by his 7.1 60-yard time proving the 15-pounds of muscle had not slowed him down. As New York's President, I felt overwhelmingly proud of his performance among the countries elites. 

His senior HS season was extremely productive both offensively and defensively. He was asked to play SS and he did that well, he was asked to play 3B and he did that well, he was even asked to Pitch, and he handled the task with ease. Mid-way through his Spring season he was hit with crippling news - Buffalo would be dropping the baseball program at the completion of the spring season. After hearing this news Hendershot felt devastated, as did I.   

When asked about the impact PBR had over the course of his HS season Hendershot said this. "PBR is a great resource/tool to have, especially for kids like me who come from a small area. PBR does a great job of tracking your improvements in your measurable’s throughout your time developing. Coaches are very big on a players development and tracking someone’s potential, and that’s exactly what PBR does. Dan Cevette, along with the rest of his staff, truly take pride in what they do and want what’s best for the kids and players. PBR does an unbelievable job with getting players names out on the market and giving the kids the best opportunity to be recruited by any school, no matter the division. I can 100% say that I wouldn’t be where I’m at without the help of PBR.”

Following the news of Buffalo, I had several conversations with Hendershot over those first few days, and once the shock wore off he was excited for what was next, a sign of resilience. Our national front office put out a wire to all college coaches about the Buffalo situation and a brief report on all the players that were being affected. The amount of interest that came from that email blast was remarkable. It was late in the spring, Hendershot was almost graduated, but D1 programs by the dozens wanted him on their staff. A true testament of what kind of player and person he truly is.  Now on to discuss Penn State. 

WELCOME PENN STATE

When the dust had settled Penn State University was the choice of Hendershot and his family to further his career both athletically and academically. PSU, who was welcoming in two new Assistant Coaches, and boasting a talented, but young program, was the perfect storm for Hendershot. Power five conference, top-notch facilities, high-level opponents, high-level academics, and all less than three hours from Tioaga Central. We knew what Hendershot was capable of, we have been saying it since 2015, and Penn State was soon to find out.

"Good things come to those that work for it. Parker is another example of this. He is a winner, and competitor both on and off the field" said PSU Recruiting Coordinator Josh Newman. As of tonight, Hendershot's batting average leads the team at .314, he's third on the team in RBI's (23), and has a .408 on-base percentage. Not too shabby for a small town boy from Upstate NY with little chance of making it to a D1 campus - so the critics said. 

Hendershot told us this about his freshman experience at PSU. "I think I've had a solid freshman year at Penn State with plenty of room for improvement. I worked very hard in the classroom and was able to achieve a 3.35 GPA after my freshman year, something I'm personally very proud of. In terms of my freshman baseball season, it’s been a roller-coaster of events. My first set of classes was a day after my high school graduation, because I took summer courses there to get familiar with the school and what it was all about. When I first got there, I soon came to realize that I had a fractured bone in my spine, which forced me to miss the entire summer and nearly the entire fall season. I was first able to fully practice with my team when I came back from Christmas break. That being said, I nearly sat out 6 months with very limited activity. When I returned healthy, I realized I had some catching up to do. I had to work harder than ever before because my goal was the start every game of my freshman year. However, as the season started, that was not the case. When the first weekend came around, I did not make the travel roster to North Carolina when we played Elon University. When I was told that I was not traveling, I got very angry with myself, but I knew I had to work harder and harder to put myself into a position to play. As the season continued, I started seeing more and more playing time. My comfort level has dramatically improved over the course of this season. The coaches here truly care about each player here and through their guidance my successes have been formed."

Parker Hendershot is the true definition of #PBRFamily, and we couldn't be prouder. 

2018 New York CAMPUS SERIES  #BESEEN

Campus Series - Niagara University NY 07/03 Niagara University
Campus Series - College of St. Rose NY 07/10 College of St. Rose
Campus Series - Marist College NY 07/17 Marist College
Campus Series - SUNY Oswego NY 07/25 SUNY Oswego
Campus Series - St. Bonaventure NY 07/31 St. Bonaventure
Campus Series - St. John Fisher NY 08/07 St. John Fisher


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