By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Julian Arreola and Landon Parker have been a good combination as a pitcher and catcher for The Burlington School’s baseball program.
They plan to play on the Division I college level after they’re done with the Spartans.
Arreola signed with Old Dominion and Parker signed with New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Arreola, a right-hander, is in his second year at TBS after transferring from Western Alamance. He said Old Dominion seemed like an ideal destination.
“They have winning baseball,” he said, also receiving interest from Liberty and Western Carolina.
Arreola, 17, also plays as a third baseman for TBS, but pitching seems to be his ticket to the next level. He played on the summer circuit for the Burlington-based Dirtbags.
“As soon as I joined the Dirtbags, they wanted me to just pitch,” Arreola said.
Parker has been a mainstay for the Spartans behind the plate. He said he clicked with the bat during summer ball for the Richmond Braves, a club team based in Virginia.
“It was a good summer offensively,” Parker said. “I feel like I let my game speak for itself. My bat has been really consistent – bat to ball over power.”
The chance to play for NJIT took off for Parker, 18, across a two-month period.
“I kept playing really good and my grades have always been there,” he said. “It was hard to say ‘no’ to what they had to offer as a program. Everyone that is part of the program – guys and including the coaches – are from everywhere.”
Parker said he’s embracing the chance to play on a team with players coming from a wide spectrum of areas. Going to a school in Newark, New Jersey, will gave the teenager who has grown up in Burlington a new perspective.
“I’m excited to explore the Northeast,” he said.
He also looked at Maine, Massachusetts, Western Carolina and USC Upstate as potential college destinations. NJIT coach Robbie McClellan is a former professional pitcher who played collegiately at Arizona State, with future major leaguer Dustin Pedroia among his teammates.
Parker, a 5-foot-10, 195-pound player, said he likes the stability he has seen from the NJIT program.
“I’m going to grow up with the guys for my four or five years,” he said.
Under TBS coach Chad Holland, Parker has worked with several TBS pitchers who’ve gone on to Division I programs.
“Chad has put so much faith in me,” he said.
Before heading to college, Arreola and Parker will try to help TBS to a third consecutive North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association state championship in Class 2-A in the spring. There’s a strong relationship there.
“Julian is my boy.” Parker said.
The confidence runs both ways.
“He’s able to take control in high-pressure situations,” Arreola said.