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Stars of Tonight: How a multi-sport background has helped Parker Dunshee excel at Wake Forest

by Matt Jasko, 07-29-2015

Stars of Tonight: How a multi-sport background has helped Parker Dunshee excel at Wake Forest

CHATHAM, Mass. –   It was just another day on the mound for the right-hander. Coming off a performance in which he threw a scoreless inning in the Cape League All-Star Game July 25, Parker Dunshee (Wake Forest) added four more scoreless frames against the Harbor Hawks Tuesday night. For the seventh time the Anglers handed him the ball, and for the seventh time he mowed his opponents down. 

Dunshee now claims a 3-2 record, and his 2.16 ERA is the best of any Chatham starter this summer. He has recorded 27 strikeouts to 8 walks and has thrown strikes just over 73% of the time. Including the All-Star Game, he has not surrendered a run in his last four outings.

Ahead of tonight’s matchup between the Chatham Anglers (21-18) and Falmouth Commodores (13-25-1) at Arnie Allen Diamond in Falmouth, Dunshee sat down to discuss how a multi-sport background has helped him excel as a pitcher at Wake Forest. Here is what he had to say.  

 

Matt Jasko: Who are your five favorite athletes of all time—dead or alive?

Parker Dunshee: Oh wow, okay. I like Steph Curry in basketball. I’m a Colts fan, so I like Andrew Luck in football. Baseball—probably [Clayton] Kershaw and Johnny Cueto; I like the way those guys pitch. And another basketball player—I grew up liking Reggie Miller. I’m from Indiana. [smiles]


Parker Dunshee (Wake Forest) threw a scoreless inning in the All-Star Game July 25. 

MJ: It’s not surprising that you answered that question with athletes from three different sports—basketball, baseball, and football—because you played all three of them for four years in high school. Why did you choose to play all three through your senior year?

PD: I really liked all three sports and had played them all my life, so I didn’t want to give any of them up. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to play all of them, and because of that I met a bunch of different guys and had a bunch of great teammates. I didn’t want to pick one sooner than I had to.

MJ: Your experience playing high school baseball obviously helps you on the field today, but do you think your experiences in basketball and football also help you in ways that may be less obvious?

PD: Definitely. Basketball, football, and baseball are all different games, but there are so many aspects that are similar. They’re all team games—I think they’ve all helped me become a better teammate. I think leadership is another aspect—understanding how a team works and how to lead that team. Those sports, including baseball, have all helped me in both of those aspects.

MJ: Once in a while you’ve had the chance to pinch run here. You get to take batting practice every so often too. What’s it like to be a pitcher now, but still be able to have those experiences now and then?

PD: I get those little tidbits of what it used to be like, and it keeps me going as a pitcher. When I first became a pitcher only I missed swinging a bat and getting on the field, but being able to do stuff like that once in a while still makes it fun. It’s definitely cool to be able to do that in one of the best leagues in the country.

MJ: You took BP twice this year. Do you remember how many home runs you hit?

PD: The first time I hit five, and the second time I think I hit four. It was just fun getting back in the cage and swinging the bat.

MJ: Since zeroing in on pitching, you’ve become a very fundamentally sound pitcher. At what point did you start really focusing on the art of pitching itself?

PD: Probably working with my pitching coach at school during my freshman spring. That’s when I became a pitcher only. My coach said I had a chance to do it, and do it pretty well, so I decided to put all my eggs in that basket and just go for it. I kept working throughout the spring, and then summer last year in the Northwoods was good for me. That was a big learning experience. Then in the fall a new pitching coach came in, and he got my mindset focused on attacking, attacking, attacking everything. That’s where I’m at now.

MJ: What are you working on your arsenal right now for when you head back to school next year?

PD: I’ve been working a lot on my changeup this summer. I didn’t throw it much during school ball this season, but you need at least three quality pitches in the ACC for sure. I’ve thrown it a lot to lefties and a little bit to righties too. I think it’s gotten a lot better this summer, and that’s something I’ll take back to school.

MJ: Are you focusing on making all three of those pitches better or would you like to add a fourth?

PD: Right now my focus is being able to get those to a point where I can throw them anywhere, anytime, wherever I want. I don’t think I need to add anything right now really—just keep progressing. You can always be better at something. Find something to work on. I’ll be in the weight room this fall and hopefully be able to gain a couple ticks—miles per hour—as well.

MJ: If you had to say one or two goals for the school year ahead, what would they be?

PD: I would say one of my goals is to be a really good leader for the freshman class coming in. I want to be a good teacher to them, and hopefully set an example of how you should work and how you need to work to have success in a conference like the ACC. Hopefully me and the other upperclassmen can set that bar and we can go to the ACC tournament and make a good run. Hopefully Regionals from there, and then we’ll see.

MJ: You’ve been out here all summer with your collegiate teammates Will [Craig] and Nate [Mondou], and Joey [Rodriguez] got out here pretty recently. Even though you’re a pitcher and they’re position players, have you gotten to know them better over the summer?

PD: Oh yeah. Will and Nate were always my close friends since we were at school, and I was with Nate last summer in the Northwoods. And Joey I’ve gotten to know really well over the last couple years, so I was glad when he came out here. Our relationships have only gotten stronger since we’ve been here. It’s just been a great experience together out here.

 

Tonight

Tonight Parker Dunshee’s Anglers (21-18) will journey to the West Division for the final time this season for a 6 p.m. contest against the Falmouth Commodores (13-25-1) at Arnie Allen Diamond. The projected pitching matchup pits representatives of two Texas colleges against each other. For the Anglers, it is expected to be the left-handed Ty Damron (Texas Tech). He is 2-1 with a 3.37 ERA on the summer. The Commodores will likely counter with Turner Larkins (Texas A&M). A right-hander, Larkins is 0-3 with a 7.08 ERA.

Dominic Cotroneo and Jonny Wincott will have the call live, starting with the Anglers Extra Pregame Show at 5:40 p.m. on TRZ Teamline and at 1-800-846-4700, code 3841.



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