Hawks’ Haskin part of a baseball brotherhood

  • Nighthawks catcher Parker Haskin warms up before their game against Sanford in White River Junction, Vt., on June 30, 2021. Haskin, who is a student at Elon University, is one of 20 players from his college team playing in summer leagues this year. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — Geoff Hansen

  • Nighthawks catcher Parker Haskin speaks with manager Justin Devoid before the start of their game against Sanford in White River Junction, Vt., on June 30, 2021. At right is first baseman Ronald Evans. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — Geoff Hansen

  • Brothers Parker and Hudson Haskin pose in their Tulane University baseball uniforms in an undated photograph. Parker, left, is spending this summer catching for the Upper Valley Nighthawks, having since transferred to Elon University. Hudson Haskin is a prospect in the Baltimore Orioles system. Courtesy Tulane University — PARKER WATERS

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/10/2021 11:00:06 PM
Modified: 7/10/2021 11:00:06 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Upper Valley Nighthawks catcher Parker Haskin grew up playing baseball with his biggest role model in the sport.

He and his older brother by 14 months, Hudson, hit the diamond however they could when growing up in New York City. Parker fondly recalls pickup games in Central Park.

As the years went by, the brothers developed into high-level players. They played together for one year at Tulane University before Hudson, an outfielder, was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the second round of the 2020 MLB Draft.

Parker, having since transferred to Elon University in North Carolina, tries to be his own player and to not compare himself to his brother too much. But he’s hoping to follow in Hudson’s footsteps — both in reaching the professional ranks and in the way he plays the game.

“I think, especially when I was younger, his success definitely motivated me to work really hard and try to play the highest level of baseball that I could,” Parker said. “I think what I really picked up from him (is) just his approach to the game. Just the way he carries himself and how he goes about his business. I think, even when we were younger, he was really mature in terms of his approach and really handled stuff like a pro.”

Parker called Hudson his best friend. They talk regularly — even after Hudson started playing in Maryland with the High-A Delmarva Shorebirds, the brothers still chat on the phone four to five times a week.

Hudson played in the NECBL in 2019 with the Newport Gulls. He reminds Parker to enjoy himself and not get too caught up in his performance during summer baseball.

But Parker doesn’t always go to his brother for advice. Hudson, the Orioles’ No. 13 prospect in MLB Pipeline, seeks guidance from Parker when he’s in a slump or just needs to vent.

“He knows me better than I know myself,” Hudson said. “Just the other week, I had a rough week and was feeling a little frustrated. And he shot me a motivational text, just encouraging me and just remembering to keep my head down and keep going through it. I saw that text and I ended up having a great game, hit a homer that night.”

As they play entirely different positions, both brothers acknowledged the differences in their games. Parker said Hudson has more tools in terms of speed and size but that his own game is more centered around good at-bats and good defense behind the plate.

Those good at-bats have paid dividends with the Nighthawks this summer. Parker is third in the NECBL in batting average (through Friday) at .364. He said he didn’t perform as well as he’d hoped to at Elon this year — he batted .241 in 33 games, including 25 starts — and came into the summer season particularly motivated to play well and improve.

The Haskins’ parents, Stephen and Drucilla, both played college tennis. Parker and Hudson’s maternal grandfather and great-grandfather both played minor league baseball.

Nighthawks manager Justin Devoid said that family background in the game has been evident in watching Parker this summer.

“The way that he goes about his game and always has a good approach at the plate, I think, shows that he was taught pretty well at a young age,” Devoid said. “Plate discipline and being able to hit his pitches, I’ve been very surprised with it and very happy with the way that he’s been attacking at the plate.”

Devoid added that Parker’s presence behind the plate has been big for the Nighthawks’ pitching staff. He said Parker calls a good game and has a good arm to keep runners in check.

Parker couldn’t remember how he ended up a catcher — he played catcher and infield growing up. He enjoys being involved in every play, as well as directing his teammates in front of him.

He also likes the intricacies of the position.

“There’s a lot of little things that go into the position. It’s cool,” Parker said. “It keeps you locked in the whole game. It’s also a really cool position just because you’re building relationships with all the pitchers, trying to figure out what works for them, and you’re trying to help guys be successful.”

Watching Hudson go through the draft was beneficial for Parker. It gave him a better understanding of what that process looks like and how hard it is to get picked. It made him a proud younger brother, but it could also serve him well if he eventually ends up in the same position himself.

Hudson believes Parker will get there.

“He can be really good. I’m super-proud of the progress that he’s made over the last year,” Hudson said. “He’s always been an amazing defensive catcher — still, to this day, one of the best that I’ve seen. So as he continues to refine his approach and work on his offensive game overall, I think he could be playing this game for a long time.”

Seth Tow can be contacted at stow@vnews.com.

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