SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Someone once said ‘you may encounter many defeats in your life, but you must not be defeated.’
An Augustana University baseball pitcher has taken that saying to heart.
Because when life threw him a curveball, he stepped up to the plate and hit it out of he park.
“Yeah he has a perspective you just don’t know about,” coach Tim Huber said.
When 24-year-old Parker Hanson is on the mound for the Augustana Vikings baseball team….
“His slider, hitters don’t have much of a chance against it,” Huber said.
…….he looks like any other player.
But he’s different.
“I would say early when he first got here, you noticed and didn’t know how to react or how to handle it, but now you don’t even notice it, you don’t notice he’s missing a hand,” Huber said.
Parker was born with a birth defect that left him with only his right hand.
“I just love baseball,” Parker said.
That love for the game started at a very early age while growing up in Minnesota.
While he says he’s grown used to his disability, he admits at times, it was emotionally difficult.
“It hurt me that’s just the honest truth, it hurt me deep down, I would go home from school crying when I was in third grade, because I knew I couldn’t go to basketball or baseball practice with the other guys in my class, you know they were my best friends, it was tough for me, but it motivated me,” Parker said.
Parker was determined.
He didn’t want to be like all the others, he wanted to be better………
He worked hard in the weight room to get bigger and stronger.
That combination and a no quit attitude helped him land a scholarship at the University of Minnesota Crookston where he played for a couple of years.
But Crookston didn’t have a graduate program in Sports Administration and Leadership that Parker was looking for, so he contacted Augustana where Tim Huber decided to take a chance on him.
Huber says he saw his ability, but he also saw his character.
“I guess when he reached out, I knew he was a good kid, good person, good student and has some talent, I just didn’t know where it was going to go,” Huber said.
“I thought it was a pretty cool story, stuff like that is cool you know, we bring in some international guys, because they add a different dynamic and obviously Parker adds a different dynamic,” Huber said.
But he doesn’t give Parker a pass, Huber treats him like any other player.
If he’s pitching poorly, he gets taken out.
Parker says he had a role model to look up to while growing up. Jim Abbott, who pitched in the major league for years, also only had one hand.
“You know for Parker I don’t think it’s done yet, I think he wants to keep playing, I’m not sure if it’ll work out for him, but I think maybe there’s a professional team out there that wants to to take a chance on a guy like that,” Huber said.
Parker doesn’t bat for the team, that’s so he can concentrate on pitching, but says he’d like to step to the plate one more time before he’s done at Augustana.
He says if it doesn’t go well, he knows one thing, he’ll never strikeout in the game of life.
“My biggest message is if you have a dream or aspiration just chase after it, keep going,” Parker said. “Life is going to knock you down you just got a find a way to get back up.”
Parker figures into the pitching rotation almost weekly and so far has helped the Vikings to a 21-6 record.