By J. Thomas McNamara
It’s not often that an athlete from a Decatur and Macon County high school gets to represent his country in World Cup competition, but that’s what 17-year-old Parker Hopkins is doing this week in New Zealand. Hopkins is a member of the USA 18-under Men’s National Softball team that flew out of San Francisco this week to play for the World Cup against 11 other teams from around the World. “It’s exciting to know you’re representing the USA and that you are playing for a World title and the Gold,” said Hopkins in a chat with the Decatur Tribune before flying Feb. 18 to San Francisco where he joined his teammates for their flight to New Zealand.
The Warrensburg-Latham junior and his USA teammates will compete in the tournament that runs from Saturday, Feb. 22, through March 3 in Palmerston North, New Zealand. “It’s the best thing that’s happened to me,” said Hopkins enthusiastically about having the opportunity to represent his country in the World Cup softball competition where he’ll pitch. He wants the ball in his hand with the games are on, but when he isn’t pitching, he’ll be in right field.
Obviously, Parker is thrilled to be wearing the red, white and blue USA colors and to be representing this country. Who wouldn’t! Hopkins wrestled last weekend (Feb. 14-15) in the 126-pound class in the sectional finals. And the multi-talented athlete says his wrestling coach Brian Lee, former Decatur Pride pitcher Brent Stevenson and his Dad, Michael, have prepared him for this competition, adding Lee helped him get bigger, stronger and faster and Stevenson helping with his pitching and his Dad’s experience as his father and as a former national softball player himself. Everyone recognizes the Hopkins name as his Dad, Mike, played and coached softball, including his many years of leading successful Eisenhower Panthers teams