MSSU’s Parish preps for shot at pro baseball with Texas Rangers
Zach Parish was the consensus Division I Pitcher of the Year in 2021.
JOPLIN, Mo. – A lot has changed for Zach Parish in the last week.
“Five days ago, I kind of announced that I was going to step away from baseball and move on with the next chapter of my life,” Parish says.
20 rounds of the MLB Draft finished up last Tuesday – without Parish receiving a call or hearing his name called.
“It was a little discouraging at times,” Parish says, “The third day rolled around and you’re expecting something, at least a phone call saying we got you on our radar and we’re thinking about taking you. Not hearing that, it was kind of just like, man…”
It all changed on Sunday morning, with the Missouri Southern standout agreeing to a free agent contract with the Texas Rangers.
“The free agency deal kind of popped up at the last second. It was like yeah, I gotta do this,” Parish adds, “All I needed was a chance, and I’m thankful that I’m getting one.”
“He’s definitely deserving,” says Missouri Southern head baseball coach Bryce Darnell, “We’re excited as a program and we’re excited for Zach. We’re anxious to see him get started.”
He was the consensus Division II National Pitcher of the Year this season, and set a new Division II career strikeouts record.
But what he did on the field was a product of how he approached the game outside the lines.
“After a start here, he would go to the weight room and as the opposing bus is leaving he would be out there on the football field working with our strength and conditioning coach getting ready for his next start,” Darnell says of Parish, “He’s just an animal as far as work ethic goes, and he definitely left his mark.”
It’s that work ethic and competitive spirit Parish will take with him to Texas – hoping to one day get his shot at the biggest stage in baseball.
“The Rangers are definitely getting a competitor,” Parish says, “I love nothing but competition. I strive for competition. If someone wants to challenge me, I’m going to take it up and put my best foot forward. They’re going to get a winner as well.”
“He’ll represent himself well, and he’ll represent our school well,” Darnell adds, “Zach is a great pitcher, and I really think he’ll do well.”
“If it works out, it works out,” Parish finishes, “If not, at least I’ll know I gave it my best shot.”
Parish will head to Texas on Tuesday to sign his contract, and find out where and what level he’ll begin his professional baseball journey.
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