St. Louis Catholic's Parker Morgan doesn't shy away from strong competition.
During the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, five of the six schools he faced played in the state baseball tournament at McMurry Park in Sulphur over the last five years, posting a 2.89 earned run average and with 21 strikeouts in 191⁄3 innings.
Playing against some of the top players in the state this summer, Morgan has stepped it up another notch, especially in a three-game showcase event over the last two days at Legion Field, pitching for Team Louisiana Gold.
In the first game of the series on Tuesday, Morgan faced a lineup that included five Division I commitments in Catholic-Baton Rouge's Addison Ainsworth (LSU) and Mason Zambo (Louisiana-Lafayette), Parkview Baptist's Brennan Holt (LSU), Live Oak's Brant Smith (LSU), St. Thomas Aquinas' Casey Artigues (Southern Mississippi). He was named the Gold's outstanding pitcher for the showcase.
"The summer (season) has done a lot for me," Morgan said. "Team Louisiana helped me get a lot of exposure, especially this game getting more to Lake Charles.
"Being a local guy, it really helped me out getting recruited. I feel like I have really improved on competing, facing better batters. You really have to learn how to compete and fill up the zone."
Morgan allowed one run earned over 41⁄3 innings for the Gold with four strikeouts and one walk. He left the game with a 5-1 lead, but Purple came back against the Gold's bullpen to win 8-5.
"To lefties, I was throwing the slider away," Morgan said. They couldn't really piece it up real well. To righties, I was throwing the changeup away, keeping it away from the barrels and just pounding the zone."
At 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, Parker has a hard-to-hit changeup and slider and can hit the mid-80s with his fastball.
Earlier this month, Morgan committed to Nicholls State.
"The coaches have been really nice to me throughout the process," Morgan said. "They really made me feel welcome. I really appreciated them reaching out to me. Some other schools were looking at me, but Nicholls showed the most attention to me, and I felt like it was a good place for me."
Morgan said he hopes that he can close out his high school career in the spring with a run to the state tournament.
"I think that we can compete for a state championship if we pitch well, and we play clean defensively," Morgan said. "I feel like we really could make a shot at Sulphur."
Team Louisiana Purple won the series 2-1.
In Tuesday's game, Sulphur's Walker Bridges went 1-for-2 and scored two runs for the Gold while Sam Houston's Ashton Fusilier went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a stolen base for the Purple.
In the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday, the Gold won 8-5 with Bridges driving in a pair of runs. He also had a pair of singles in the final game. DeQuincy's Gunnar Gearen held the Purple to one run on two hits over the final two innings to secure the win for the Gold.
The Purple closed out the series with a 10-5 win in the third game.