|COLLEGE BASEBALL: TAKE TWO! TIOGA'S HENDERSHOT SIGNS TO PLAY AT PENN STATE (2017-04-13)
By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
TIOGA CENTER — Tioga senior Parker Hendershot will play his college baseball at Penn State after signing a letter-of-intent here Friday afternoon, but his route to the Big Ten program was far from the normal route taken by the large majority of Division I signees.
In November, Hendershot signed to play at the University of Buffalo, but those plans came to a screeching halt April 3 with the announcement that Buffalo was cutting four sports programs, including baseball, for financial reasons.
“Last Monday, I got the text (saying Buffalo was cutting baseball),” said Hendershot. “I had seen posts on social media, but I thought it was a joke at first. Then I talked to the coaches and saw it on their Web site
“At first I was shocked. I didn’t know what I was going to do, or where I was going play,” noted Hendershot.
“Then, throughout the day my phone started blowing up from schools across the country. At first, I was like what the heck is going on.
“Later in the day, I’m thinking this is awesome,” added Hendershot. “I think it was a blessing in disguise.”
Hendershot, who turned in an impressive showing at a National showcase after signing with Buffalo said his suitors came forward in much greater numbers this time around.
“I think I talked to about 30 Division I schools and another eight Division III or JUCO schools,” he said. ”I had a lot of choices.
“There was way more interest than the first time I was being recruited,” he added.
From the group of 35 to 40 schools that contacted him, Hendershot narrowed the list to Penn State, U. Mass-Lowell, Maryland, St. John’s, Charleston Southern, New Orleans, Binghamton, and Missouri State, before ultimately choosing to become a Nittany Lion.
Hendershot is the second Tioga baseball player this decade to choose Happy Valley, joining 2011 grad Patton Taylor, who pitched at Penn State. Hendershot’s uncle, Dave Keene — a 1980 Tioga grad — also played Division 1 baseball at Appalachian State.
Hendershot said be briefly discussed becoming a Nittany Lion with Taylor.
“I talked to Patton (Taylor) a little bit. He had a lot of good things to say about Penn State.”
Hendershot said once he stepped foot on the Penn State campus, he knew it was the place for him.
“I had the same feeling at Penn State as when I visited Buffalo,” he said. “I could see myself there and thought I could consider it home.
“I love the campus, it’s beautiful,” noted Hendershot. “It’s a big school, even bigger than Buffalo and the facilities there were really nice.
“And, I think the program there is going to be something really special soon,” he added.
With the shift from a Mid-American Conference program to a Big Ten program, Hendershot knows it will be tougher to earn playing time as a freshman, but it’s still a goal.
“I have the same expectation that I had when I thought I was going to Buffalo.
“I know it’s going to be tougher, there’s going to be better competition, but it’s only going to motivate me to work even harder to earn my spot, to earn playing time,” he said.
Tioga baseball coach Bob Seymour has been at the helm of the Tigers for nearly three decades and ranks Hendershot among the best he’s coached.
“He ranks right in the top one or two, for sure,” said Seymour. “He’s had some unbelievable seasons, yet when I look at the last two seasons, there is still room for improvement, and he knows that.
“He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around and not just during the season, but during the offseason as well,” he noted.
“He has worked his butt off to get to where he is today,” added Seymour. “He’s worked hard for this opportunity and I don’t think he’s going to let it slip away. I think he’ll continue to work hard.”
Seymour, who played Division I baseball at San Diego State in the mid-’70s, believes the biggest adjustment Hendershot will face will be the mental aspect of the game.
“The biggest adjustment is when you get there everybody else there was all-state, too.
It’s a little overwhelming at first … you can put a lot of pressure on yourself,” said Seymour. “He just needs to go in there and do what he’s capable of doing and he will be fine.”
Seymour believes Hendershot has everything it takes to be successful at the next level.
“He has so much potential,” said Seymour. “If you look at his bat speed and arm strength, and some of the other factors … I don’t think he’s done growing yet and he’s certainly not done filling out.”
Hendershot knows he still has work to do to play at the next level.
“I think the mental part of my game is very strong, but you can always improve on that,” noted Hendershot. “I can hit and my arm strength is pretty good, but that can improve, too. Defensively I think I need to work on my hands.
“Overall, I need to improve every single aspect of my game,” he added.
Hendershot, the son of Tom and Kathy Hendershot, will major in accounting.
IN PHOTO 1: Parker Hendershot. IN PHOTO 2: Front row, from left: Pierce Hendershot, brother; Tom Hendershot, father; Parker Hendershot; Carol Keene, grandmother. Back row, from left: Josh Roe, high school principal; Bob Seymour, Tioga baseball coach; Scot Taylor, Tioga superintendent; and Kathy Hendershot, mother. … PHOTOS PROVIDED.
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