Marion, Mattapoisett students sign with Division I baseball programs
Bishop Stang senior Hayden Duke of Mattapoisett and Tabor Academy senior Sam Parks of Marion both signed their intent to play Division I baseball.
Duke will be playing baseball in the NCAA Division 1 at UMass Lowell next year after signing a National Letter of Intent for an athletic scholarship at the university on Nov. 20, according to a release from Bishop Stang.
Parks signed his commitment letter on Nov. 11, continuing his baseball career as an outfielder at Bryant University in Rhode Island.
“Bryant was my number one choice,” Parks said. “As soon as they told me they wanted me, it was a no-brainer.”
He said the Bryant has an excellent business program, and plans to study business management with a minor in sport management.
Parks also received offers from UMass Amherst and the University of Maine.
Parks attributed much of his success to Tabor coach Kenny Ackerman and his summer coach Jared Evans.
Duke, a left-handed pitcher who played at the varsity level for all four years at Bishop Stang, signed the letter in a ceremony attended by his parents, Claudia and John Duke, along with coaches and friends.
“You know there’s a difference between pitchers and throwers — guys go out there and just throw it and hope for the best,” said coach Brian Rose. “Hayden is like the exact opposite of that. He was always polished as a young player with a game plan in mind.”
“Hayden gave us the opportunity to win our first year EAC Championship in a long time,” he added.
Duke was recruited to UMass Lowell by head coach Ken Harring and pitching coach Brad Cook.
The release cites him as saying he immediately liked the Riverhawks staff and their facilities at LeLacheur Park in Lowell. Duke will be completing the school’s business program and may participate in a co-op program with the Boston Red Sox’s Minor League affiliate team, the Lowell Spinners.
According to the release, Duke also thanked coach Rose at Bishop Stang for helping him along the way.
Of playing at Stang, he said, “from freshman year until now, the emphasis has been on working hard in practice. Players earn their spots and everything is performance-based with Coach Rose. There is a great atmosphere on the team at Stang.”
He also thanked his mom and dad for their support, the Team Boston travel team and coach Jared Evans, with whom he’s played since 2014.