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THE GRIND: Forsyth Central's Parker Morrison well armed for success
Grind Parker 2 072215 web
Forsyth Central rising senior Parker Morrison went 7-2 with a 1.07 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 59 innings this past season to help the Bulldogs win the Region 7-AAAAA championship. - photo by Brian Paglia

Nobody on Forsyth Central’s baseball team shows up to the ballpark with a bigger to-do list than pitcher Parker Morrison.

Don’t let anyone touch your glove. Make sure to keep track of your frames by the bricks. Make sure the throw around before the inning goes in the correct order.

For outsiders, having a superstitious friend can become a source of comedic relief, but Morrison’s teammates learned as the 2015 season went on that every single goofy nuance in Morrison’s routine was part of a business-like approach.

Morrison, a rising senior, saw so much success last year that he might consider adding a few moves to his complex style.

“I’m superstitious about people touching my glove. I don’t normally let anyone touch my glove ever. That’s really a pitcher thing,” Morrison said. “Then, going into an inning, I walk over to the brick wall and touch the third brick down for how many innings I’m in. So, if it’s the first inning I’ll touch it once. If I’m there for the seventh inning I’ll touch it seven times.

“I touch the third basemen’s glove and the first basemen’s glove, in that order, then finally I lick my tongue and rub it on my hat.”

Then Morrison goes to work.

As a junior, he threw 59 innings for the Bulldogs and only allowed nine runs—eight less than the team’s other two stellar starters in Logan Howard and Reed Clark, who each allowed 17. Morrison struck out 73 batters and finished the season with a 7-2 record in eight starts, as well as three saves in relief. He also finished with a team-low ERA of just 1.068.

Morrison, Howard and Clark combined to pitch 173 1/3 of the 206 innings Central pitched as a team in 2015.

“I honestly can’t tell you how we did that,” Morrison said. “We knew going into the year we didn’t have that much relief pitching at all, so we had to get it done. On Monday and Wednesday I threw in relief and then Friday I pitched my own games.”

Needless to say, the pressure was on the starters to work late into games. Morrison realized that he was more effective when he wasn’t over-thinking his game, so he simply began over-thinking about everything else.

“It gets to the point where you are doing so many things in repetition that it gets your mind off exactly what you’re doing,” Morrison said. “Pitching is a mental game, and it takes my mind off of that.”

Morrison has quite the arsenal of pitches. He throws a two-seam and a four-seam fastball, three different curves—one a 12-6, another more of a slider, and a slower version of the 12-6—two different sliders and a changeup. He said his slider is his most effective pitch, while he’s working on throwing his changeup for more strikes.

“I’m just figuring out whatever works,” Morrison said. “If it moves, it’s a good pitch. Anybody can hit a flat pitch, but if everything moves in different directions you keep hitters guessing.”

Morrison’s convoluted presence on the diamond has earned him a chance to continue his baseball career past high school. He’ll join West Forsyth’s departing senior Derrick Pickvet on North Georgia’s pitching staff in 2016.

The two played on the same travel team five years ago.

“I’ve been texting him back and forth. He really likes it up there and we’re excited to be on the same team again,” Morrison said.

In the time being, Morrison will hope to continue to lead Central’s program forward after winning its first region title since the turn of the century last season.

That means one more year of Morrison’s wildly effective antics.

“I can’t stop moving,” he said. “Outfield was never really my thing. As a pitcher, you’re constantly moving around, and I just kept working on it and I guess became pretty good at it. But the biggest thing is I love doing it.”