Parker Estes has been playing baseball since he was four.
“I’ve always had the love for the game,” the North Hardin senior said.
That love for the game — and talent — has taken him to the next level.
“I just knew, especially when I got started playing travel ball around 8-years-old that I wanted to take this to another level,” he said. “Ever since I started competitively playing baseball I knew that I wanted to play college baseball.”
Estes will continue his academic and athletic careers at Murray State, where he will be a member of the baseball program and study occupational safety and health administration.
“The talent I played against over the summer was really good talent, so I knew I could compete with some of the better players,” he said. “I faced a lot of Division I pitchers over the summer. I knew that when I could compete with them, I could compete at the Division I level. I decided I wanted to play DI baseball after I saw all those pitchers that were going Division I.
“When I see other kids having success, and some of the kids may be better than me, that just gives me the want-to to get where they are and even better than them. When I saw other kids who were doing very well, it motivated me more to get where they are.”
Estes was a major part of the Trojans’ 32-6 campaign last season.
“When I’m on the field, it’s my happy place,” he said. “It’s just a good feeling. When you get a good hit or make a good play, the energy and rush you get is just fun.”
Estes, who transferred from Hickman County the summer before his junior season, led the Trojans with 12 home runs (tied for second in the state) and 52 RBIs (tied for seventh) last season. He hit .358 with 33 walks and 10 doubles.
“The coaches and teammates have been great,” he said. “They’ve pushed me to become better. It’s been great moving here and having the competition.”
North Hardin coach Ace Adcock has been at the helm since 2012.
“He’s great. He’s by far the best coach I’ve had,” Estes said. “He led us to 32 wins last year. He led us to the district championship, the first one since ’06, and led us to the region championship game, where we came just short. This year we have a lot of talent and I’m sure he’ll lead us just as far, or farther.
“He knows a lot about the game. He’s played at the college level. His brother’s played college and professional. Coach (Derek) Cape, he’s played college and some professional ball. This is a great coaching staff. With all the experience and talent the coaches have, carrying that on to us helps even more.”
Estes, who played first base and pitched last year, will move to third base and still pitch.
“I like third,” he said. “You’ve got a lot more opportunities to make a play or make a big play. I’ve naturally played third base and I transferred over to first over the years. I’ll play wherever. It doesn’t matter to me.”
He said his fielding has improved the most over the past couple of years.
“I’ve always been an above-average hitter,” he said. “My fielding would be on and off. I’d boot a lot of balls. My dad played at Western Kentucky and he’s helped me a lot. My coaches have helped me a lot go through certain fielding drills. There’s a lot of experience that has helped me.”
Estes finished 7-2 last year on the mound. He tossed 50 2/3 innings, struck out 56, walked 26 and had a 2.35 ERA.
His decision to choose Murray State was based on one thing.
“Definitely the coaches — Coach (Dan) Skirka, Coach (Tanner) Gordon and Coach (Kent) Rollins,” Estes said. “The campus is only about 45 minutes from where I used to live. A lot of family and friends live near there, too. The coaches are good guys. They know a lot about the game. They wanted me there. You can get an offer here or there, ‘You’re a good player, we want you on the team.’”
Skirka is entering his second season with the Racers. He was the recruiting coordinator for Walters State Community College, where the program went 208-48 over four seasons and was in the 2018 National Junior College Athletics Association World Series championship game.
“I would get texts from the coaches every week, every two weeks checking in on me, asking me how I was doing — always keeping in touch,” Estes said. “I knew they actually wanted me and would take care of me, so I knew that was a good place to be.”