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Merrimack High School Grad Pat Parker a big hit on UMass-Lowell baseball team

To put it simply, Pat Parker can hit. He hit for Merrimack High School when he moved to town as a junior from Wilmington, Mass., and he hit last spring at Northern Essex Community College, where he batted over .500 for a team that finished third in the country at the Junior College World Series.

Parker didn’t catch on immediately with a team last summer, but when the North Shore Navigators found him late in the summer, he batted .396 with 11 RBIs in 17 games.

Parker was back at Northern Essex last fall, gearing up for another season, when he heard the team’s coach was stepping down.

Parker, who had hoped to transfer to UMass Lowell next year, decided to come a semester early. He enrolled in January and started hitting almost immediately.

Over the first 17 games, including an 11-game Florida swing that concluded last weekend, Parker hit a team-best .436 and is tied for the team lead with 14 RBIs.

In his last two games
in Florida, against Hillsdale College and America International, he was 7-for-8.

“The kid can hit, and he’s proven it at every level,’’ UMass Lowell coach Ken Harring said. “He’s very aggressive and seems to know what pitch he can attack. He’s a smart hitter with very good balance.’’

And, it seems, Parker will get a chance at every level.

UMass Lowell announced earlier this winter that they were moving up to Division I in athletics beginning in the fall, competing in the America East Conference in many sports, including baseball.

“I came because I knew Lowell was a great program,” Parker said, “and I heard the rumors about the move up to Division I.

“It’s exciting, and I feel fortunate that I was given a chance to play, right away.’’

What position Parker will play is still up in the air. He’s been a third baseman, but Lowell already has a talented starter there.

He’s been in the lineup as a first baseman but will probably get most of his at bats this spring as a designated hitter.

“He’ll continue to work on his defense,’’ Harring said, “and we like his bat in the lineup. He’s hitting sixth right now, but I can see him moving into the third or fourth spot sometime in the future.”

Once the snow melts, Lowell has a great home stadium, LeLacheur Park, home of the Lowell
Spinners.

LeLacheur will host this year’s America East Baseball Tournament, a year before Lowell, still a member of the Division II Northeast-10, joins the conference.

Parker, who grew up in nearby Wilmington, says he feels right at home. He’s proving it at the plate.

Connor Green

Former Bishop Guertin standout Connor Green continues to make big contributions for the Amherst College men’s basketball team, which has reached the Elite Eight in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

In a 93-76 third round victory over Randolph-Macon, the freshman guard had 14 points and grabbed six rebounds off the bench, hitting 4-of-8 shots from beyond the 3-point arc in 17 minutes off the bench.

Green, who led BG to the 2011 Division I title, is third on the team in 3-pointers made with 36.

Jacklyn Dubois

Freshman Jacklyn Dubois of Mont Vernon is hitting .294 so far this season for the University of Connecticut softball team.

In seven starts, the Bishop Guertin graduate has knocked in three runs and hit her first career home run.

Nick Astarita

Junior Nick Astarita is off to a great start for the Bentley University men’s lacrosse team.

In two games so far, Astarita had three goals and two assists for the 1-1 Falcons for a team-high five points.

The Bishop Guertin graduate from Bedford had six goals and one assist in 14 games last season as a sophomore.

C.J. Frates

Sophomore C.J. Frates of Merrimack has three goals and one assist in three games so far the Plymouth State University lacrosse team.

Frates, who graduated from Kimball Union Academy, had two goals and two assists in 13 games as a freshman.

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