Prep Baseball Report

Defense Behind The Plate Stands Out For UC Commit McDaniels

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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Defense Behind The Plate Stands Out For UC Commit McDaniels

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Parker McDaniels C / RHP / Olentangy Berlin, OH / 2024

DELAWARE - Round two of the recruiting process was quite a learning experience for Parker McDaniels.

“My biggest take away from this is as much as baseball is a game, college baseball is a business,” McDaniels explained. “Coaches have jobs on the line. They’re not going to take a chance on a guy if someone else is more trustworthy.”

After watching McDaniels in action, the coaching staff at the University of Cincinnati is of the belief the second-rated 2024 catcher in Ohio is perfect for the program.

“They really value catching,” the Olentangy Berlin senior pointed out. “Their head coach was a catcher, their assistant coach was a catcher and their catching coach is a good dude that I talked to about it.”

The confidence the 6-1 215-pounder and the UC staff had in each other was enough that an offer and commitment brought an end to the recruitment of McDaniels, who had previously been headed to Miami.

“The head coach was fired,” McDaniels said of what took place at Miami that changed his mind about a college home after Danny Hayden was let go back in mid-May. “That was the whole reason for me going to Miami, so I decided to decommit.”

Hayden had good words to say about McDaniels after parting ways with Miami.

“UC called up coach Hayden and asked about me,” McDaniels noted. “That showed their interest in me.”

The university two hours away from his home in Delaware also had coaching changes since last season, but these proved valuable in McDaniels becoming a Bearcat.

“They got a new staff a month ago with three coaches from Central Michigan,” McDaniels related in reference to assistants Josh Reynolds, Kyle Pettoruto and Tom Winske. “One of my high school coaches had contact with coach Winske at UC and he wanted me to come down to a camp. They needed a defensive catcher and I went to the camp. They offered two hours afterward.”

The 32nd-ranked senior in the state was not surprised the offer came so quickly.

“I did well at the camp,” McDaniels noted. “The way they worded it to me, they were not afraid to offer at the camp or soon after. I was more happy than anything. UC was always my target in-state and they’re going to the Big 12 next year.”

Admittedly, getting back into the recruiting process was far from easy.

“It was way more stressful than the first time around,” McDaniels said. “You have to go out and prove yourself again. It was definitely a stressful thing.”

Fortunately, talent helped the 17-year-old discover a place to play at the next level.

“I wasn’t always a power hitter but recently I’ve started gaining power,” McDaniels pointed out about his improved game that benefitted the cause in getting college interest. “My swing is showing some pop. I’ve been on a back-knees program and made some mechanical changes and with that I’m well on my way.”

But it’s his defensive ability that stands out the most.

“They like the way I put my defense first,” McDaniels explained. “I like being a pitcher’s friend. I think I’ll bring a natural leader to the program that values pitchers.”

The catching position is something that McDaniels appreciates.

“I like how it’s an art,” McDaniels said. “There are so many ways to do it, especially now with coaches teaching different ways. There’s not any one right way, they’re all important to learn.”

The Berlin senior is more than pleased to be able to take his talent behind the plate to Cincinnati.

“What a huge stress reliever to have the recruiting process over,” McDaniels said of making a commitment. “I can go back to working on my game and improving myself.”

McDaniels, who carries a 4.1 GPA, is looking at a major in marketing at UC.

“I’m excited about the nice facilities there which will help me take my game to another level,” McDaniels concluded. “I’m looking forward to going to a place where I know I’ll get better.”

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