Parker signs to play baseball at Chipola College

Published 9:18 am Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Robbie Parker is making his way to Florida. The LaGrange High graduate will attend Chipola College in the fall to further his academic and baseball career. 

“I knew it was a really good school, so I went down there and I looked at it, there’s palm trees everywhere, it’s in Florida, it’s nice and they are a great baseball school, so it just felt like the right place for me,” Parker said. “Coming into the season being committed definitely took the weight off the shoulders. I could really just lock in and try to focus on what the team needs instead of trying to show off for scouts and trying to chase numbers and individual stuff.”

It will be a Granger reunion in Marianna, Florida as Parker will be teammates with Cole Garner ( LaGrange High class of ‘23). Garner was the starting catcher for the Grangers in 2023. Parker and Garner built a natural rapport which helped lead to this opportunity for Parker at Chipola.

“He is one of the main reasons that I going down there in the first place and he will help make the transition easier,” Parker said. 

The Indians are one of the premier community college baseball teams in the country, regularly producing players that go on to play at the Division I level. That is the plan for Parker. It will not be easy, but Parker has two ways to carve out playing time at Chipola: in the middle infield or on the mound.

“It excites me because I like the ball in my hand. I really do, but I also like helping do what the team needs to win so if it means I get to pitch or play in the middle infield, I’ll be excited,” Parker said.

Parker is not a Granger by birth, but he is a Granger through and through. When he transferred into the school prior to his sophomore year, Parker was unsure about how it would all end up.

“I’m still stuck on the fact that I won’t be playing baseball for LaGrange anymore, and I will never put that uniform on again,” Parker said. “It was a big transition coming from the city to a little town. Well, it felt like a little town in LaGrange at first, but as I got more into it with the team and made more friends it started to feel like home.”

Flash forward three years and Parker is a proud LaGrange graduate. There has been a tremendous level of individual and team success that Parker dreamed about as he was named All-State as a junior, to the Georgia Dugout Club All-Star team as a senior and was a part of back-to-back state runner-up teams in the 4A classification.

“People said that we had a chance to make it a state but they said we were gonna make it last year and we ended up making it two years in a row, so it was a surprise to all of us, but it was a lot of fun,” Parker said.

Parker was named to the all-state first team as a closing pitcher as a junior. So, of course, Parker was thrust into the starting lineup this year. He made some starts in his first two seasons for LaGrange but staked his claim as a bonafide starter this season. It was mostly born out of necessity as the top two starting pitchers from last year’s team graduated which left a huge hole atop the lineup and Parker was more than happy to fill that void.

“I talked to him (before the season), and I said ‘I think we need to start and our team needs you’ and he’s like whatever the team needs,” LaGrange head baseball coach Donnie Branch said, “So he jumped in as a starter and he got the job done again. He went through an entire regular season and didn’t walk a man. I’ve been coaching a long time and not many things are new, but I’ve never had a pitcher pitch an entire regular season as a starting pitcher and not walk a guy.

“You see guys in the major leagues and you see their name pitching tonight and you know they’ve got a great chance to win. So when Robbie Parker pitched, we had a great chance to win.”

There were just three seniors on this year’s LaGrange High baseball team as he had to step into a leadership role alongside Tanner Langley and Malik Kemp.

“I had such great role models in Trevor (Booton) and Preston (Pressley), so I kind of just tried to approach it the same way they did,” he said. 

Parker and Langley will get one last ride together as they will play in the Georgia Dugout Club All-Star games on Saturday. The two transferred into LaGrange High from different parts of the state heading into their sophomore years, so it is only fitting that they will go out on the diamond together as high school ball players.

“That does excite me the all-star game coming up. It’s gonna be fun to have one last go with Tanner,” Parker said, “There’s gonna be a lot of talented guys out there and it’s gonna be good competition.”