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Dylan Parzyk: The Best Week Ever

As I am sure everyone is aware, the KU baseball season came to a disappointing end on Sunday with a 4-2 loss to Nebraska.  However, at least for one Jayhawk, the week has had its share of positive developments.

Dylan Parzyk was one of four seniors honored before Sunday's game.   Coach Price referred to Dylan as the best defensive catcher he has ever coached in a talk with Brian Hanni, which is quite a compliment considering that only two years ago Sean Richardson was working under Price as the team's backstop.  Richardson was one of the national finalists for the Johnny Bench Award in 2005, a title given each year to the best catcher in the NCAA.


(All photos courtesy of KUathletics.com)

The highlight of Dylan's day was not the pre-game ceremonies; it was his performance on the field.  With the score tied 0-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning Parzyk got a hold of a Luke Wertz offering and blasted his first homerun of the year to put KU on top 1-0.  Parzyk was greeted at home plate by the entire team and walked the hero's gauntlet as every Jayhawk on the field wanted a high five and a chance to have a piece of his magic rub off on them.

In the top of the 7th Parzyk flashed the skill set that had made him an important part of the team the last two years, his defensive awareness and accurate arm.  With runners on first and second and one out Nebraska shortstop Jake Mort popped up a foul ball behind home plate.  Parzyk caught the ball and quickly turned and threw a perfect bead to second in what looked to be a unconventional double play to preserve the slim lead.  Parzyk's exceptional play was erased by a controversial balk call which moved the runners up to 2nd and 3rd and put Mort back at the plate.   Coach Price spent at least two minutes on the field backing up the 3rd base umpire while challenging the call before play could resume.   Two pitches later Mort broke the game open with a 2 RBI hit.

Even though the game ended in a loss Dylan had showcased himself and had a "last game" that most athletes only dream of enjoying.  During the KLWN broadcast Parzyk's promising future as a coach was speculated on, it seemed a given that this would be his final as a player.  That all changed yesterday.  In a surprising move the Kansas City T-Bones signed Parzyk to a professional contract to fill a hole which developed on their roster when their catcher, Jeremy McIntyre, went down with a separated sholder.  T-Bones manager  Andy McCauley: "We were lucky that he (Parzyk) just finished up at KU and we're hoping he'll be with the club the rest of the year."

I'm sure all Jayhawk fans will wish Dylan good luck this summer with the T-Bones, and I expect quite a few will make the drive to Community America Ballpark to watch him in action.  Dylan will be back on campus next year finishing up his class work.  For the last two years he's been one of those quiet players who has done nothing but work hard, fill whatever role he was given, and help the team to the best of his ability.  You can never have enough players like that on a roster.  Parzyk is an exceptional defensive player and has sneaky power at the plate.  Now that he has been given a chance in the Northern League, he just might stick around as a player for a bit longer than a month.  I have the feeling that he is the type of player professional managers like dealing with.