Chili Peppers’ Flanagan boasts talents on mic and mound
COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WWBT) - Following his freshman baseball season at Bridgewater College, Will Flanagan had his eye on the Tri-City Chili Peppers.
He had hoped to get a roster spot on the Coastal Plain League wooden bat team, but when none were available, he inquired about a job with the club instead. The Clover Hill graduate signed onto be the on-field emcee, serving as an entertainer for fans, hosting between-inning activities and firing up the crowd. Prior to the Chili Peppers’ inaugural game, however, the team ran into an issue.
“We’re short on pitching early because a lot of our guys come from good programs, so we only had one starting pitcher show up,” recalled Tri-City Head Coach Taylor Lockhart.
Lockhart asked Flanagan if he would be up for some pitching, but not for just any contest. He’d be taking the ball for the first game in team history at the Holly Springs Salamanders. The former Cavalier would get his roster spot after all.
“He was all for it,” Lockhart said. “It’s actually worked out way better than I think anyone planned.”
“I wasn’t really supposed to be playing for the team this summer,” Flanagan noted. “Then I got the opportunity to pitch and then I pitched the first-ever Chili Peppers’ baseball game.”
Now he throws on his cap, laces up his spikes and takes the mound. As for his on-field hosting duties, those have not gone away. Flanagan performs that job during home games and pitches during road contests.
“I’ve never seen it, but that’s classic summer ball for you,” Lockhart smiled. “You just never know what’s going to happen in the summer.”
“It’s not that hard,” Flanagan added. “I just get my throwing done before I come to work because obviously when I come to work, I won’t have time to throw.”
That’s not where the former Clover Hill standout’s roller coaster of a spring ends. Last week he entered the transfer portal and committed to Radford, making the jump from Division III to Division I baseball.
“I didn’t really have a good freshman year and I just knew that that’s not what I wanted to do,” he said. “I knew that I could compete a lot more than I did.”
“He can pitch in this league, he can pitch D-I,” Lockhart declared. “He’s facing good D-I bats, good elite bats here, so he’ll be fine there.”
It’s been a crazy couple of months for Flanagan before summer even officially begins. He’s gone from the microphone to the mound, from Division III to Division I and there have been some lessons along the way.
“Don’t count yourself out and when you know you’ve put the hard work in, always bet on yourself because you’ve always got your own back,” he said.
Flanagan says he doesn’t necessarily have Major League playing aspirations, but he hopes to work in the big leagues as a host, public address announcer or coach someday.
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