Leading by example: Junior Parker Trexler has blossomed into a stellar baseball player for West Forsyth and it’s paid dividends for the team

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 16, 2024

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By Jay Spivey 

For the Clemmons Courier

Third base in baseball is often referred to as the hot corner.  

But for third baseman Parker Trexler, a junior on the West Forsyth team, he plays the game like there is ice in his veins.

That’s paying off for fifth-seeded West Forsyth (22-6), which as of Tuesday, was waiting to play its third-round game of the NCHSAA Class 4-A tournament at rival Reagan (22-4), which is the No. 4 seed. Tuesday’s scheduled game was rained out and was scheduled to be played Wednesday night.

“After I go out there in the game, get a big hit, put a barrel on something, I come out on defense. I’ve definitely got all the confidence in the world,” Trexler said.

According to his coach at West Forsyth, Kevin McIntosh, Trexler is batting, in 28 games, .364 with six home runs and 33 RBIs as the cleanup hitter in the lineup.

“He’s a guy that’s bounced around a little bit from 3, 4, 5, you know, this year for us,” McIntosh said. “He’s kind of settled in the 4 hole for us lately and has answered. He’s answered in several games, you know, — in the (Central Piedmont 4-A) conference-tournament game he hit a home run that night at East Forsyth against Glenn that night.

“So, he’s answered for us, come up big and clutch, and on top of that he’s held down the hot corner over there for us and has defensively very well. And he’s thrown a couple innings for us on the mound.”

Pitching might not be Trexler’s forte, but when needed, he’s filled that role for the Titans.

“You think back earlier in the year we went to him several times in situations. The first Reagan game that we got the win he threw in relief,” McIntosh said. “At the Forbush game we 1-0 in extra innings he pitched in that game after Jack (Vest) that night.”

Playing in just his second varsity season, Trexler said he put in a lot of work last offseason to get ready for this season. According to him, he batted .290 last year as a sophomore with then-Coach Brad Bullard.

“I definitely put in the work, and I think it’s starting to show now,” Trexler said.

Something started clicking for him during the spring-break tournament in the Myrtle Beach, S.C. area in the three games the Titans played.

“I started like the first half before spring break. I was doing alright,” Trexler said. “I mean, I wasn’t doing how I should be. I wasn’t playing how I should be. And I, we went to that spring-break tournament, everybody was building off each other. I got hot at the spring-break tournament and then just carried that throughout the rest of the season.” 

That business trip to the beach has paid dividends for Trexler and the rest of the Titans. 

“There’s not any beef between the team,” Trexler said. “Like everybody is friends with everybody. Everybody’s cool with everybody. And I think we spent a lot of time out on the beach as a team, playing Spikeball, going to the pool. just think it was a great team bonding experience. 

“And we got to play baseball there too, and it’s kind of more of a relaxed environment.” 

The fun continued at the beach for West Forsyth, which finished 2-1 during the trip. 

“I think after one of the games, a bunch of us went and got dinner together,” Trexler said. “I think we went and got ice cream once or twice. It was good. We got to play baseball. We got to go out there and play some good competition, and on top of that, we got to spend time with each other and come together and come closer with each other.” 

Although he may not be a prototypical power hitter, there is still a nuance to batting cleanup. 

“It’s definitely a different approach,” Trexler said. “Nine times out of 10, I’m hitting with somebody on base in front of me. just look at the situation, and I do everything I can to either move the runner over or score him if he’s on third, whether it’s a ground ball to the second baseman, a pop-up to the outfield so he can tag up, or just hitting a single to get the runner moving.” 

Also, Trexler worked last offseason to get bigger and stronger. According to him, he was 6-foot-2 and weighed between 160 and 165 pounds last season as a sophomore. He said he’s now about 185 pounds. Not only is that helping with the bat, but it’s also helping on defense.

“His body is the prototype of a corner guy as he projects for the future,” McIntosh said.  

McIntosh was a part-time assistant last season with Bullard, so he was able to see Trexler play some. But now, McIntosh is seeing Trexler really grow into the position, both offensively and defensively. 

“Defensively, he’s just as sound as he has been,” McIntosh said. “He just continues to work at it. And offensively, he’s, I think he’s gained some pop and power with RBIs and hitting home runs. His average, if I went back and looked, is probably similar to last year. But overall, he’s a hard worker.  

“Like he’s one of those that, you know, you say it’s time to go home, and he’s, ‘Hey, Coach, can I get some extra swings in the cage after practice?’ You know, working out in the gym and just working hard. You know, you just can’t say enough about him on that aspect of things. All the hard work has paid off.” 

Trexler also learned from last year’s senior-laden West Forsyth team that finished 19-9 overall and 10-4 in the Central Piedmont 4-A. West Forsyth also won the Central Piedmont 4-A tournament last year, defeating Davie County 5-4 in the championship. It went to the NCHSAA Class 4-A playoffs, defeated Charlotte Catholic in the first round, and lost to Northwest Guilford in the second round.  

“I definitely sawlikewhat a top playerhow they prepare for the game. Just how they got out there and play with confidence,” Trexler said. “And (Harrison Lewis, who is now playing in college at North Carolina) definitely helped me out a lot in practice. He was just kind of like an overall leader on and off the field. He set a very good example for me.” 

Although Trexler might not be the most vocal player for the Titans, he leads by example. 

“You’re not going to outwork him,” McIntosh said. “I keep going back to his work ethic. And I just think that’s a major plus for him, his dedication to the game and his attention to detail.” 

West Forsyth finished second in the conference this season after finishing 11-3, just behind Reagan, which finished 14-2. Reagan, which had already locked up the top seed from the Central Piedmont 4-A for the NCHSAA Class 4-A tournament, which started last week, was upset by Glenn in the semifinals of the conference tournament. 

West Forsyth, which was the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, defeated Reynolds in the first round, Mount Tabor in the semifinals and Glenn in the championship. 

“We lost a game to Glenn and East (Forsyth in the regular season), so we knew that once we got beat by them, we knew the regular-season champions wasn’t possible anymore. So, we were looking at the conference tournamentand we were like, ‘If we can’t be regular-season champions, we’re going to go out here, and we’re going to be the tournament champions.” 

They did just that. West Forsyth found out the following day, once the NCHSAA released the pairings for the state tournament that it was the No. 12 seed and were slated to play No. 21 Cornelius Hough in the first time. Meanwhile, Reagan was awarded the No. 4 seed and was slotted to play Lake Norman. 

West Forsyth defeated Hough 6-3 and played No. 28 Southeast Guilford, which upset No. 5 Charlotte Providence in the first round, last Friday in the second round. West Forsyth won the game, but it had some help from Trexler. Trexler hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning to help West Forsyth win the game 3-1.  

You know, it probably wasn’t our best overall game, but it was good, and we did what we had to do,” McIntosh said. “And Parker’s two-run home run was ultimately the difference in a 3-1 ballgame.” 

Now, comes the rematch with Reagan. The two teams split the two games during the regular season. Regardless of the outcome of the Reagan game or throughout the rest of the season, Trexler knows that he and the Titans can hold their heads up high. And Trexler still has one more year to get even better. 

“Eventually, after the season’s over, I’m going to miss all the seniors that are leaving,” Trexler said. “I definitely; I mean, we have great team chemistry. I’m going to miss going to practice with them every day, pushing each other. I mean, it was a great team. There was never a dull moment. I mean, practices are fun, games are fun with all of them. I mean, it’s just a great environment to play.”