MURFREESBORO – Parker Noland and Noah Gent weren’t expecting to leave Murfreesboro on Tuesday morning with trophies. Simply being nominated for Mr. Baseball by the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association was enough recognition.
Nevertheless, Noland (Farragut High School) and Gent (Grace Christian Academy) both were named Mr. Baseball during a ceremony at Middle Tennessee State’s baseball stadium. Both players are juniors. Jacob Tate from CAK was also a finalist in Division II-A with Gent and Chattanooga Christian’s John Rhodes.
“It means a lot. Just getting to be a finalist is big to me,” said Noland, who won the award for Class AAA. “It’s an honor.”
Added Gent: “It really means the world to me. It’s just surreal to be here with the three best baseball players in Division II-A. Being able to play with them all my life, I grew up with them. It’s all surreal. … I wasn’t really expecting to win it. The other two (finalists) are really good baseball players. It’s just crazy.”
Noland, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound infielder with the ability to play first and third in college, hit for a Farragut record .520 during this past season, including 12 home runs and 43 RBIs. He scored 50 runs, hit 18 doubles and had a .959 slugging percentage.
“He’s always been a good hitter. He’s always been able to use the whole field,” said Farragut coach Matt Buckner. “He really made a conscious effort to put on some weight and strength in the offseason — adding the power portion to (his game). He became better defensively, too.
“He put the time and effort into his game. He’s a good leader for us, also.”
Noland verbally committed to MTSU in early 2018, but the Blue Raiders fired their baseball coach on Monday. He’s in a wait-and-see mode with that situation.
Gent, who is a 5-11, 185-pound shortstop at Grace, is still waiting on some college offers, though he has been approached by junior college programs. Gent hit .463 with 14 walks, 16 doubles, 11 home runs and 35 RBIs this past season.
He’s building towards next season and the college level.
“Right now, I’m working with Nate Hoffmeister. He’s our strength and conditioning coordinator for Grace,” said Gent. “We’re just working on building strength and explosive quickness, so I can cover the 6-hole a little better and have better range.”