Western Nebraska Community College baseball players Hunter Parker and Zach Berg will be taking their baseball talents to the next level when they leave WNCC after signing with Ft. Hays State College last week.
The pitchers have known and played with each other for a long time and they said it was fitting that they go to the same college to play baseball next year.
“Me and Zach have been teammates since early high school, sophomore year,” Parker, an Eaglecrest High in Centennial, Colorado, said. “It means a lot that we have been sticking together the last couple years and in the future.”
Berg added that going with a teammate makes the signing that more special.
“It is really awesome for both of us,” Berg, who graduated from Chaparral High in Parker, Colorado, said. “We experienced living together and playing together for some time. We had hopes that was something that we could continue and now it is actually a reality.
The one thing that they still have hopes for is winning a championship, whether it be this spring for WNCC or a conference championship at Ft. Hays State. Both, they said, are within reach.
“I am going there because I love the town, I love the baseball team, and I want to improve at a Division II school,” Parker said. “It always has been a dream of mine to be a college baseball player so signing with Ft Hays means a lot to me.”
For Berg, Ft. Hays was a place he has been looking at while in high school.
“I decided to go there because it has been a place I have been looking at since coming out of high school,” the right-handed pitcher said. “Now, with the new coaching staff and a lot of the guys they are bringing in, I feel like it is a really good place to go and win some games and compete for a conference championship.”
Parker and Berg join a long line of WNCC players that have played at Ft. Hays, including on this year’s team junior Tyler Olson and senior Ryan Grasser.
Parker said he also visited Pittsburgh State College in Kansas, but after weighing both schools together, picked Ft. Hays.
“I want a championship at Ft. Hays,” Parker said. “That is what I want and I also want a 3.0 GPA,” he said.
Last season with WNCC, Parker had an 8.87 earned run average with 51 strikeouts in 44.2 innings of work.
Parker said this year’s team has one goal in mind, to win a Region IX championship.
“We have a thing between the team from the fall season that we want to get a championship,” he said.
Also, for Parker, this season will help him when he plays in the summer collegiate league this summer with the Western Nebraska Pioneers.
“I am actually committed to the Western Nebraska Pioneers for this summer. So I will be playing here in Nebraska,” he said. “It is a privilege and really exciting [to play for the Pioneers]. They came into the league in the first year and won it all. I get to be a part of that next summer and that is a real honor.”
As for Berg, his goal at WNCC is to win. Berg appeared in 13 games a year ago tossed 39.2 innings with a 4.76 ERA. He had 31 strikeouts and walked just 12 batters.
“This year we want to win a bunch of games, really,” he said. “That is the goal. We want to win the conference and I definitely think we have a good shot at it this year. We have a stronger team this year and I am looking forward to showing off to everybody what we got. We have had a lot of good competition in the fall season. We have a lot of really good players at every position this year. We have a lot of guys that were working hard to get better and I think it will pay off in the spring.”