Two former Central Kentucky high school baseball standouts have become integral parts of their team’s run in the National Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.
Aaron McGeorge, a second team all-state pitcher for Henry Clay in 2015, will get the start Wednesday night for Wabash Valley Community College’s winners’ bracket semifinal in the Division I double-elimination tournament. Wabash, located in Mount Carmel, Ill., has not yet been defeated.
Logan Parrett, a first-team all-state pitcher for Woodford County in 2013, who helped the Yellow Jackets to the 2012 state title, has been a lockdown reliever for Wabash down the stretch.
Parrett got the save in two shutout innings Monday night in Wabash’s 12-11 win over Cowley in Colorado’s thin air, where “pitching coaches go to die,” according to Wabash pitching coach Jeff Bolen.
“It was tremendous. It wasn’t a good day to pitch. … Parrett’s bailed all of us out of some really big jams,” Bolen said Tuesday. “He just comes in and attacks. He throws all of his pitches in all counts and at any place.”
Parrett played for his father, former Major League pitcher Jeff Parrett at Woodford County. He committed to Kentucky, his dad’s alma mater, out of high school, but suffered an arm injury during the 11th Region Tournament semifinals.
His UK bio says he had Tommy John surgery that summer to repair a ligament in his elbow. The surgery normally requires a year to recover. He was listed on UK’s 2014 roster, but did not play. He transferred the next year to Wabash where he settled in as a reliable reliever.
Bolen said Parrett struggled with his control much of this year and was used sparingly until he sorted it out.
“Toward the end of the year, he worked on some stuff in the bullpen, and we just made tweaks and tweaks.” Bolen said. “It just clicked right before the last weekend of the season. … and he’s been lights out during the postseason.”
Parrett pitched three scoreless innings of middle relief in Wabash’s 11-4 first-round victory over Southern Nevada. He’s appeared in seven of Wabash’s last 10 games recording 12 strikeouts while scattering nine hits over 15 scoreless innings.
McGeorge, who committed to Kentucky last fall, also had his struggles this season as he slipped from Wabash’s No. 1 starter to further back in the rotation. McGeorge is 4-3 this season with a 3.33 earned run average.
But, like Parrett, he seems to have worked things out for the postseason, pitching seven scoreless innings in the game that clinched the team’s World Series’ berth.
“He’s a really great competitor,” said Wabash head coach Ron Fournier in his 21st season at Wabash. “When he’s on, he has a chance to beat anybody.”
McGeorge didn’t attract a lot of major college attention out of high school despite his success for Henry Clay. He thought going the junior college route would allow him to develop more physically.
“Out of high school, I topped out at 90 (mph fastball),” McGeorge said. “My freshman year here during the spring, I was topping out at 92-93 and through the summer I just kept that going.”
That maturity equated to a scholarship offer from first-year UK coach Nick Mingione’s staff.
“They knew I had other visits planned,” McGeorge said of his recruitment. “I was planning to go to Houston and to Wichita State and (UK) pretty much said ‘we know you’re from Lexington, and we don’t want you to have to go anywhere else.’”
Wabash has at least 11 players who will be transferring on to NCAA Division I this fall. Wabash has sent dozens of players to the NCAA and the Major League Baseball draft during Fournier’s tenure. Bolen said Parrett has not discussed his future plans but they’ll likely discuss options after the season.
“Some people … don’t understand how high quality the Division I junior college level is,” Bolen said. “Every team here (at the junior college World Series) has 20 plus (NCAA) Division I players or more,” Bolen said. “Some of these players here can compete against almost any Division I team in the nation, except for maybe the ‘power five’ schools.”
NJCAA Division I Baseball World Series
Wabash Valley vs. San Jacinto
When: 9:30 p.m. EDT