Injuries are a part of sports on every level, and Westminster third baseman Parks Harber learned that firsthand this season.
After producing a stellar 2018 campaign which saw him earn him the Georgia Dugout Club Class AAA Player of the Year award, the junior broke his right wrist sliding into home plate in the third game of this season for the Wildcats.
After missing more than a month of action, the right-hander returned to the starting lineup for Westminster. Harber’s first contest back was a big one with a game-high six RBIs on four hits and two home runs in the Wildcats’ 16-3 win at Callaway March 30.
“The recovery process went well,” Harber said. “The wrist feels great and I’m taking it day by day. I was excited to get back on the field and felt good that day. I actually struck out my first at-bat but was able to see some pitches I can do damage with after that.”
Harber hit four home runs in his first four games back from injury with nine RBIs and a batting average of .538.
“Parks is a special person and player,” Westminster head coach Chad Laney said. “His talent level reaches truly extraordinary heights, but it is his leadership, desire to get better and humble nature that set him apart. He sets the model for others to follow with his commitment and daily work ethic, and his performance on the field when the lights are on is simply spectacular.”
Harber’s return comes at a crucial time for the Wildcats as they enter the heart of Region 5AAA play.
“The team is doing well,” he said. “The team has had ups and downs, but that will make us stronger going through adversity. I like where we’re at. Pace Academy, Lovett and Redan are all awesome teams, so the next few weeks will be a battle to see who’s best and I’m excited for it.”
Harber has played third base on the varsity team since attending Westminster starting in the ninth grade. He began playing the sport itself at 4 years old.
“I’ve enjoyed the sport since a young age,” he said. “ I enjoy being an infielder. I’ve grown physically over the years, and third base has become my natural spot. You get to showcase your arm and have to stay on your toes because it’s called the hot corner for a reason. If you’re not paying attention, the ball can be hit right past you, so you have to be aware of your surroundings and locked in. That’s what makes it exciting.”
Harber lists current Atlanta Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson as his favorite player of reference.
“I love the way he plays the game with passion and (to) do whatever it takes for the team to win,” he said.
Harber as seen his role with the Wildcats increase now as an upperclassman.
“Naturally the upperclassmen are looked up on by the younger guys,” he said. “I try to do the best I can knowing the ins and out of being a varsity player since freshman year. You learn so many lessons in baseball because you have to bounce back from adversity. I’ve made great relationships.”
Harber is also a quarterback on Westminster’s football team.
“The sports are so different, but you can take the competitiveness from football and carry it over to baseball because every play matters and you’re fighting for every yard,” he said.
Off the field, Harber has a 3.5 grade point average and lists math, particularly pre-calculus, geometry and algebra, as his favorite subjects.
“Math is a challenging subject at Westminster, so you have to put your best foot forward, so I’ve learned a lot about myself,” he said. “You have to work hard to succeed, and I enjoy finding that success expanding my knowledge.”
The son of Gene Harber and Harriet Huger plans to pursue a career in sports journalism. He also has an interest in social issues and is working on a school project focused on college student loan debt this year.
Westminster returns to action April 10 at home against Lovett.