TAMPA, FLA. – Hannah Parker has made the full transition from a Hilltopper to a Bull.
The 20-year-old spent her first two college seasons playing softball at Western Kentucky University, where she pitched over 200 innings and played in right field and at first base.
For personal reasons, Parker decided it was time for a change. Her dad printed out a list of every Division I team and their coaches contact information, and she started highlighting potential candidates.
“I had some teams calling me to play for them, but when I came across USF, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to play for a school in Florida?’ I emailed them and we set up a visit,” she said.
So far, everything has worked out as Parker leads the team in strikeouts this season with 48. She credits head coach Ken Eriksen and pitching coach Jessica Moore with making improvements to her game.
“I love coach Eriksen, he’s a great head coach, and he really makes me a whole better player than before I came here,” she said, before practice last week. “Coach Moore has changed me completely. I’m not even close to the same pitcher that I was.
“She disciplines me, but I can take it. I take in everything she says and I really trust her.”
Eriksen, who’s coached the team since 1997, said they are lucky that Parker picked to transfer to USF.
“Without her, I think we’d be up that famous creek without a paddle. It’s incredible what she has done against some of the best competition in the world,” he said. “She shows that she’s got a lot of heart and guts and that nothing scares her.”
Parker has 19 appearances this season, with 10 starts and two complete games. She believes this team has the potential to be a NCAA tournament threat.
“We have a lot to work with and a lot of talent on our team when a few of our injured players come back,” Parker said. “As a team, we need to trust and believe in each other. If we do that, we can we can do anything.”