ALLENDALE COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) - A student-athlete on the USC Salkehatchie baseball team passed away on Friday.
FOX Carolina learned that Parker Neff, age 21, passed away on Friday. According to the team's website, Parker was originally from Greenville and graduated from Travelers Rest High School. At Salkehatchie, he was a redshirt sophomore playing shortstop and third base.
Allendale County coroner Renique Riley confirmed to FOX Carolina that Parker collapsed on a field during practice, and later died at Allendale Hospital.
CONDOLENCES POUR IN
North Greenville University's baseball team also expressed they were in mourning, as they say Parker had previously played for them. NGU Baseball asked for prayers for Parker's loved ones in a tweet on Friday.
Just got heartbreaking news that a former member of our program, Parker Neff, passed away today. Parker was an awesome kid, always smiling, and was loved by all of his teammates. Please pray for his family, friends, and teammates during this impossible time.— NGU Baseball (@NGUBaseball) March 30, 2019
USC Lancaster's baseball program also expressed their condolences, noting the loss was deep for the entire baseball community in South Carolina.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the USC Salkehatchie baseball program. It’s a very sad day for the South Carolina baseball community.— USC Lancaster Baseball (@UsclBaseball1) March 30, 2019
DESCRIBED AS DEDICATED, GENUINE PERSON
Bubba Dorman, coach for the Salkahatchie baseball team, spoke with FOX Carolina Saturday evening about the kind of person Parker was, both on the diamond and out of uniform.
"One of the best kids on the team," said Dorman. "He had a drive few young people have. He came out daily and did extra."
Dorman fondly and heartily listed out some of Parker's traits: he was a genuine person, kind, respectful, a considerate person who also was quiet and reserved. Most of all, he said Parker didn't quit.
"He made tremendous strides," said Dorman. "He became our everyday shortstop and a three-hole-hitter, no matter if the batter was left-handed or right-handed."
Dorman also revealed that Parker attended USC Upstate sometime prior to coming to Salkehatchie, continuing to pursue his dream of playing college baseball no matter where he went.
Coach Dorman sent in a remembrance speech read out over the PA system Saturday prior to Salkehatchie's game against Spartanburg Methodist College:
We would like you to join us as we take a few moments to HONOR and REMEMBER a truly wonderful young man, a son, a brother, a sweetheart, a friend, and a teammate, who we lost yesterday. PARKER STEWART NEFF, number 13, passed away yesterday and his departure leaves an enormous hole in our hearts, life and especially in this baseball team.
Parker graduated from Traveler’s Rest High School in 2016. He attended North Greenville University and USC Upstate prior to transferring to USC Salkehatchie this past fall to pursue his dream of playing collegiate baseball. He started the year as a Third Baseman but several weeks ago he became our everyday SS and our 3-hole hitter! He was hitting .280 with a .414 OB%. He had 6 doubles, 3 triples, 3 home runs and 17 RBI. Parker had made tremendous strides as a player in a short period of time here at USC Salkehatchie.
To give you some kind of idea what type of player Parker was, yesterday morning he was sitting in his Jeep waiting on me to arrive to open the door to the locker room so he could take some extra batting practice. Several weeks ago I saw him standing on the sidewalk to the library throwing a ball against the Library wall working on his fielding. Parker was the type of young man that makes coaching a glorious and wonderful profession. Every day he went about making himself the best player he could be. He was a baseball player’s player!
Even though Parker was a very good baseball player, despite the fact he was not what we would call a runner, he was a much better person. KIND, RESPECTFUL, THOUGHTFUL, CONSIDERATE, PERSONABLE, QUIET, RESERVED, A DREAMER are a few words that come to mind when I think of Parker. He was a young man with INTEGRITY and OUTSTANDING CHARACTER. You did not have to wonder if Parker was going to give his best effort, because that was his MAKE-UP. He would not allow himself to give anything but his best. He carried himself with a quiet PRIDE about who he was and what he was doing! He was constantly trying to improve himself and his skills. He was STEADY! He was ROCK STEADY! And he made the people around him better, which is the ONE TRADE MARK AND CHARACTERISTIC of all the great people that have GRACED this earth!
Parker was also a very good student with over a 3.0 GPA. He was the total package, the example of what a student-athlete is supposed to be. He was a coach’s dream because he did not talk about what he was going to do, he went and did it. And the vast majority of the times he took someone else along with him!
Hey 13, we love you, we sorely miss you but you will forever be in our hearts. I am a blessed man because Parker Neff walked into my life! I thank my Lord, my Creator and my Savior for allowing me to coach Parker Neff, if only for a short time! God Bless you my brother! And Thank you Parker, one-three, thirteen, for NEVER GIVING UP ON THAT DREAM!
We also have reached out to Greenville County Schools for any statements about his time at Travelers Rest High School.
According to an obituary, Neff's funeral will be held in Greer.
The visitation will be Tuesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at The Howze Mortuary.
Funeral services will be Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 300 Oneal Rd., Greer, SC.
Private burial will follow at Mountain View Memorial Park.