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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Mitchell High School Softball Field Named Parker Field - Parkers Dedication to Mitchell Youth

MITCHELL - MARCH 13, 2023 - The Mitchell Community School board meeting was an emotional evening, not anything bad, but tears of joy for the Parker family.

Photo: Mitchell School board named the softball field Parker Field after Ted and Gail Parker who dedicated their lives to Mitchell's youth.

Ashliegh Mesarosh, started a petition drive started in January with over 850 members of the public signing the petition in support of naming the softball field to Parker Feild by the time Monday's night school board meeting started.

" I thought if I could find a way to really ask people in the naming of the field after the Parkers, that I knew this is something people would support," Mesarosh reflected on in starting the petition drive.

" I heard the board before, voted it down, I just wanted to show that it was just not the family who wanted this done, this is a community wide request. This is something the whole community wanted,"

" The naming of the field means so much to me, because Ted and Gail really poured their heart and souls into this. They saw a need and they wanted to make things better. In doing so, they provided an outlet for hundreds of girls to just have fun and have something to look forward to every summer,"

" I am over the moon, that their legacy will live on at the field they gave so much to,"

Photo: Ashliegh Mesarosh, started a petition back in January in support of the naming of the field Parker Field

In the naming of the field was emotional on many people from the family and with Mitchell School board member Steve Burton reading a statement before the vote.

" This means everything, the amount of people Ted and Gail had an impact on particularly girls. It is immeasurable, it's something, that is so desperately needed now. Girls outside playing together, doing something physical, not watching TV. As teens you would be together, that allows you to interact with one another and become friends,"

" Everyone look forward to it, and Ted knew it, and continued it," said Mesarosh.

Mesarosh played from the moment she could play, until the moment she graduated high school.

" Ted took me under his wing in the summer leagues and on our high school fastpitch team to give me every opportunity, and I will always be grateful,"

" Its just uplifting to see the community come together to support this and shows how many lives Ted and Gail touched,"

Steve Burton took time to reflect on the history of the Parkers. Ted came to Mitchell in 1964 and started umpiring the Mitchell Little League.

Video: Steve Burton tells the story behind Ted Parker and his dedication to the youth in Mitchell

Ted was a boy's little league and Babe Ruth league coach from 1965 - 1977 and came back and directed the little league from 1993 - 1996.

In 1977, Parker started coaching a girls softball team. Parker becoming a director over the girls' softball league in 1978.

The construction on the Mitchell High School gym began and the parking lot had to be moved. Parker telling the school board there needs to be a place for the kids to play softball. He obtained permission by the superintendent at the time to construct the softball field, in front of the high school (at the current location).

With the help of Mitchell Crushed Stone, with their equipment the company helped build the field. Parker able to find lights in Ohio and find the poles to set the lights up for the ballfield.

Parker maintained and directed the softball league from 1979 - 2008. From 2004 to 2008 Parker served as the Mitchell High School Varsity Softball Team Head Coach.

Parker was instrumental in starting the 35-year-old and older on the softball field.

Burton reflected on the dedication to his family, many of the family attended the school board meeting, Monday evening.

Ted's daughter's Jill Morse and Jamie Phillpott reflected on their dad following the school board meeting Monday evening.

" This has been brought up before, but this has been a long-time coming and for that reason this has been very emotional for us. Steve Burton had wonderful words tonight to say about my father. In totality it would have been 52 years that our dad who volunteered or had a hand in building, every single building in this town," said Jill Morse.

" Our whole family was a part of this legacy," said Morse.

" We ate a lot of hotdogs," stated Jamie Phillpott. " No we don't," Jill chimed in. " We grew up on the ball field,"

" We would not take that time back, this is all we knew, and it has never been the same since it stopped," said Morse. " There has been nothing go on there since that has stopped," added Morse.

" I was the very first softball coach on that field when, fast pitch softball first started," Morse who coached for the first ten years of the Mitchell Community Schools Fast Pitch team.

" I think this is important for students, young people especially, and I know it is going by the wayside of naming things after people. But in my opinion, not because it is my parents, so you do not forget, in the future I can be that person," Morse exclaimed.

" This is something not only to strive for, to think Wow people can make a difference," Morse who has taught more than 37 years in the Mitchell Community School Corporation.

" There were many kids, who got to play for free, and if they could not afford it, it was never mentioned they got to play," said Jamie Phillpott.

" Not because it got swept under the rug, but because our parents paid for it anyways. We received messages from people all the time, about some of the things our parents done without us even knowing about it,"

" Your parents bought my first glove, and I still have it, I will honor this glove for the rest of life,"

" He never left the field with kids there waiting on their parents, he stayed right there with them until someone came to pick them up," added Phillpott. " If no one came and got them, he took them home,"

" I am just glad they finally did this. This has been a long time coming, and long overdue,"

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