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From D3 to D1: Lawrence University star outfielder Parker Knoll headed to Louisville

From D3 to D1: Lawrence University star outfielder Parker Knoll headed to Louisville
Posted at 3:38 PM, Jul 02, 2024

FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — Coming out of Fox Valley Lutheran High School, Parker Knoll didn’t have very many offers to play baseball at the next level, so he went to Lawrence University.

He helped the Division 3 program have a lot of success over the last few years. Now, between his time with the Vikings and the Dock Spiders here in Fond du Lac, he’s worked his way up to play the Division 1 level.

“If I remember right, he hit a home run the first or second game with us, made a couple of diving plays into the wall – I knew right away this was going to be a special kid,” said Dock Spiders manager Doug Coe

For Coe, Parker Knoll’s success is hardly a surprise:

“He makes everything look very easy,” Coe said. “His work ethic is off the charts. This kid’s in the gym every day, 6-7 days a week taking care of his body. One of the first ones here for batting practice. Just everything he does just looks easy, while the rest of us are trying to go a little bit faster or trying to put a little extra into it to do what he can do. It just flows naturally for him.”

Doug Coe
Doug Coe

All Knoll does is rake at the plate. In the outfielder's three-year career at Lawrence, his batting average hovered right below or above .400 and through 26 games with the Dock Spiders he’s hitting .362.

“I try to stay within myself,” Knoll said. “I don’t try to do too much. I think that’s really helpful, just trying to see that first pitch in the zone. If I can hit that, I got a much better chance of hitting with zero strikes then two. Just trying to get ahead in counts and get the pitches that I want.”

With all of his success, the D3 all-American decided to throw his hat in the transfer portal a few weeks ago. Which was a tough decision, as he’s been a starter at Lawrence since his freshman year. This past season he hit 16 home runs with 54 RBIs and a .393 average.

“That was one of the biggest selling points for me, was that I would be able to go (to Lawrence) and then make an impact right away and to win the first conference title there in 40 years was awesome. To be a part of that was really special.”

Parker Knoll takes batting practice
Parker Knoll takes batting practice

Once he entered the portal, NCAA Division 1 teams came calling. One of those being Louisville, who has made 5 College World Series appearances in the last 17 years.

“You don’t get an opportunity to play at Louisville without being a special baseball player,” said Coe.

“They were telling me ways that they can already help me improve,” said Knoll “Which was impressive to me. I haven't worked with any of them in person and they were already thinking of ways to make me a better player. I really liked that. I was like, ‘Man, they already know what they want to do with me, sign me up’.”

Now before heading to Louisville, Knoll is working hard to improve his game with the Dock Spiders, so he can try and make his ultimate dream come true.

“To play professional baseball would be awesome, but if the worst thing that comes of it is I get to play ACC baseball, that's a pretty cool thing,” he said.

On another note, Knoll could very well hear his name called in the 2024 MLB Draft.