DSU’s Park knocking it all over the placeKevin Park is just living the dream.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Kevin Park is just living the dream.
The Dickinson State junior third baseman is having a breakout season on the baseball diamond.
He’s also celebrating his 10th year as an American citizen and a baseball player.
The South Korea-born junior clean-up hitter immigrated to California with his parents when he was 10 years old. Back then, Park wanted to be a soccer player. But, even growing up in California, he said chasing his soccer dreams weren’t easy.
“When I first came here, nobody played soccer,” Park said, remembering when his family arrived in the Los Angeles area in 2000.
So, with his father Myung Sik’s urging, he turned to baseball.
A decade later and the Blue Hawks are reaping the rewards of that decision.
Park leads the Dakota Athletic Conference with 50 RBI and is atop the NAIA in RBI per game (1.67). He’s batting .390 with a nine home runs, which is second-best in the DAC.
He has had 10 consecutive games with an RBI, a streak he’ll try to continue today when DSU (19-11, 6-2 DAC) hosts Minot State at 2 p.m. at Southside Municipal Ballpark in a nonconference doubleheader.
Despite how well he’s been hitting this season, Park said he is still learning more about the game every day.
While hitting came naturally to him, Park said it wasn’t until college that he learned how to do so properly.
“(In high school) I wasn’t as good as right now because I wasn’t a really good contact hitter. I was just going for home runs every time,” Park said. “I kind of learned baseball throughout college, trying to put balls on the ground for the team to score runs.”
Park hasn’t been bad with his glove either.
He has nine errors in a position where some are expected and leads the DAC in fielding assists with 2.57 a game, which DSU head coach Duane Monlux said, “you don’t see from a third baseman, ever.”
“He’s very valuable to our defense and is a very good defensive player,” Monlux said. “… He gets to a lot of balls and sometimes that doesn’t show up in the scorebook, how good he is on defense.”
Park played a season at Citrus College in California before transferring to West Los Angeles College last year. He made the move in order to see more playing time since West L.A. was only in the second year of its program.
Just like his parent’s decision to come to America, Park’s choice paid off. He had a good season and through some mutual connections, hooked up with Monlux and the Blue Hawks.
Today, the ever-improving Park will try to keep a streak of 10 consecutive games with an RBI intact.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot from college ball,” Park said. “I can say I’m a good baseball player now.”