Advocate staff photo by HEATHER McCLELLAND -- Parkview Baptist's Adam Tarver tags a St. Louis Catholic base runner who was trying to steal third base in a Class 3A playoff game May 6.

Staying focused and in the moment has served the Parkview Baptist baseball team well so far this season. There might not be a better example of that than senior infielder-pitcher Adam Tarver, who handles both of his roles with like a consummate leader.

A presence in the field, at the plate and on the mound, Tarver lets distractions stay off the field once the game starts. His hitting and pitching numbers are among the best on the team.

“I approached this season in a relaxed manner,” said Tarver, who committed to Nicholls State before the season started. “I committed early, so all of the pressure of going to the next level was off my chest. I wanted to play free and have fun with the game.”

So far, fifth-seeded Parkview has had plenty of fun in the playoffs. They’ve defeated No. 28 Albany, No. 12 St. Louis Catholic and No. 4 South Beauregard. Next up is a semifinal test against top-seed Evangel at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Baseball tournament.

Game time is 3 p.m. Friday at Sulphur’s McMurry Park. Third-seeded Iowa and No .2 John Curtis square off in the other semifinal at 6 p.m.

At the plate, Tarver is hitting .313 with three home runs, 20 RBIs and a .516 on-base percentage. He has a 6-3 record with one save and an 0.98 ERA on the mound. In 57.2 innings pitched, he’s struck out 73 while holding opposing batters to a .129 average.

Last season, Tarver was named The Advocate’s All-Metro Most Valuable Player for Class 3A-and-below, and the co-MVP of District 7-3A.

This year, Tarver has thrived in big games against talented pitchers. On April 11, he outdueled University High’s Jacob McClain with a two-hit shutout performance.

Tarver struck out 11 and allowed only four baserunners as the Eagles won a key 7-3A game 2-0.

In the playoff opener against Albany, Tarver threw another two-hitter. Albany didn’t get a hit until the sixth as Parkview claimws a 3-1 win.

Perhaps the toughest part of Tarver’s season came in Parkview’s regional-round playoff game against St. Louis Catholic, a contest the Eagles won 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth. Parkview had just taken a 1-0 lead in the sixth when Tarver tried to score from third on a bunt.

Tarver was thrown out at the plate, and then ejected from the game after he failed to slide. The collision with SLC catcher Jack Aguillard was a key moment in the game and helped the Saints stay close enough to force extra innings.

“He would have been safe if he had slid,” Parkview coach Darron Mitchell said. “He could have gone wide and stuck his hand out to catch the plate.”

Tarver had to find a different way to help his teammates as the game went into extra innings.

“I realized it wouldn’t do any good to just sit around, so I had to cheer on my teammates to keep the energy going,” Tarver said.

After the game, Tarver apologized to St. Louis Catholic’s team . He later completed a sportsmanship course before Parkview’s quarterfinal contest at South Beauregard.

That game matched Tarver againsth one of the state’s top-rated pitching prospects for 2015, South Bearegard’s Nick Lee. Tarver came out on top as he threw a complete game and held the Knights without a hit after the third inning of a 5-1 Eagles’ win.

“I like going up against really good pitchers,” Tarver said. “I knew if we scratched across a couple of runs we would get the win. I was confident in our defense and the way I was going to pitch. I figured we would win with a couple of runs.”

Tarver sees similarities between this year’s team and Parkview’s 2013 squad, the Eagles’ most recent state championship team.

“Like them, we all love to play the game,” he said. “We have fun together. It’s just a matter of going out and competing.”