It’s been a month, but it still hasn’t worn off just yet for Jonathan Parker.
So his routine is still the same.
He’ll walk down the stairs of his home in uptown New Orleans and glance at the cap with the words “Division II National NJCAA Champions” on it.
“And I just put a big old smile in my face,” Parker said.
Parker, a 2015 Brother Martin graduate and starting catcher this season for Jones County (Mississippi) Junior College, will likely be wearing that smile for a while.
He made the Division II World Series all-tournament team last month in Enid, Oklahoma, after batting a scorching .473. He batted .692 over the last four games.
“It was amazing, it was unbelievable,” Parker said. “Seeing my friends happy, family happy, me happy. It was everything you can imagine.”
It was the first World Series title for Jones Junior College and the first for any junior college in Mississippi.
Parker played a huge part in the team’s overall success.
He batted .310 with 10 doubles and 31 RBIs and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.
Behind the plate, he was just as important.
There was a stretch when Parker started at catcher in 48 consecutive games.
“Jonathan was the heart and soul of the group,” Jones coach Chris Kirkland said. “All year long he answered the call to be a leader. He was an extension of our coaching staff and a big part of the glue to hold everything together.”
Parker was the lone out-of-state player on the Bobcats’ roster, so it was somewhat of a culture shock going from New Orleans to Ellisville, Mississipi, a town with a population of just more than 4,000.
“It was the biggest adjustment anybody can make,” said Parker, the son of Dionne and Johnny Parker. “But I’m 100 percent glad I did it because I wanted the country life in me.”
It helped having a coach like Kirkland, who is also from New Orleans. In fact, that connection is a big part of how Parker ended up at Jones in the first place.
Kirkland needed a catcher, and there weren’t many left in Mississippi in last year’s signing class.
So Kirkland, a De La Salle graduate, decided to look for one in his old stomping grounds.
He was hoping to find one from the Catholic League.
“I talked to (coach) Kirk Bullinger at Shaw, and he suggested I go see the kid at Brother Martin,” Kirkland recalled. “I watched him a couple games, and he stood out as a kid doing a lot of the little things right.”
That probably shouldn’t come as a surprise. Baseball runs deep in Parker’s blood.
His grandfather John Morreale played minor league ball in the Boston Red Sox organization, and his uncle Johnny Morreale played for the Milwaukee Brewers.
“Since Day 1, they have always been there,” Parker said. “Them knowing the game and being a part of it helped me out a great deal.”
And perhaps Kirkland planted the seed to recruit Parker long before he ever even realized it.
As a kid, Kirkland remembers going to Frankie & Johnny’s, an uptown restaurant. The restaurant is owned by Parker’s grandfather.
“My dad and I would go there to grab a po’ boy, now fast forward years later and the guy’s grandson ends up playing for me,” Parker said.
Kirkland looks forward to having Parker play for him for one more season.
“We’re looking forward to a big time sophomore season from him,” Kirkland said. “I think his best baseball is ahead of him.”
Parker is looking forward to it as well.
His goals are simple.
“I want to really improve behind the plate and improve hitting,” he said. “And I’d like to make it back to Enid. And hopefully we’ll have a plane ride this time instead of a bus ride.”