Warriors Athlete of Week: Brainerd can count on Flanagan's leadership
Bryce Flanagan doesn't lead the Brainerd High School baseball team in many statistical categories but his contributions to the Warriors this spring are immeasurable.
With one regular season game remaining, the senior ranked fifth on the team in batting (.277) and statistically was Brainerd's No. 2 pitcher with a 3-3 mark and 3.18 ERA. Warriors coach Lowell Scearcy said although Flanagan's statistics aren't eye-opening he has stood out as a co-captain.
"Bryce has been a real good leader for us, and I'm not basing this on just one week, I'm basing it on the whole season, from the first day of practice on," Scearcy said. "He's been our leader, a guy I count on to get things done for us.
"He's been a valuable member of the team for his leadership, as well as for his play on the field."
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- Sport: Baseball
- Positions: Pitcher, first base
- Year: Senior
- Age: 18
- Height: 6-1
- Career highlight: Hitting walk-off home run for Brainerd Bees during 2016 season
- Grade-point average: 2.7
- Favorite class: Math
- Favorite food: Sloppy Joes
- Favorite movie: "42"
- Favorite TV show: "Impractical Jokers"
- Favorite app: SnapChat
- Future plans: Attend University of Wisconsin-Superior, major in business, play baseball
- Favorite baseball player: Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians
- Parents: Brian Flanagan and Pam Flanagan
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Flanagan also is a leader in the school spirit department as one of six members of BHS' Super Fan group. The delegation's other members this school year are Dylan McLain, Cody Sheperd, Cole Kubesh, Matt Patrick and Justin Banks. You will see them at almost every home Warrior event and at some road games.
"Each year you get picked to be one by other Super Fans from the year before," Flanagan said. "(Last Friday) we picked six new Super Fans for next year. It's been probably the highlight of the school year, being on that, because you get go to sporting events, travel with everyone, it's just been a blast.
"This year we wanted to go more floor hockey games. They're probably the most fun games. We try to go to every football game no matter what. Basketball and hockey get hard to go to when they're far away but we go to playoff games for sure."
On the baseball diamond, Flanagan's 18 hits were third on the team and his seven doubles led the team. He had struck out just eight times in 65 at bats.
"If I could get more line drives, produce a few more runs, that would be better," Flanagan said of his hitting. "I've been struggling a little bit but there were a lot of good defensive plays by the other side, too."
Scearcy said Flanagan has the power to hit the ball out of the park.
"And we like that," Scearcy said. "He's a dangerous hitter that's always a threat to hit the ball out when he comes up. Bryce bats in the middle of our order, he solidifies our order, and still is kind of our RBI man, a guy you count on to knock in runs."
On the mound, Flanagan often draws the assignment of pitching against the other team's ace. In 33 innings he has allowed 37 hits with 15 strikeouts and just eight walks.
"I think I'm right where I want to be on my side of the mound," he said.
Scearcy said Flanagan's season has been better than his record indicates because he's often thrown against the better teams on the Warriors' schedule.
"His other numbers are much better than his record would indicate," Scearcy said. "He's had a good year pitching for us."
A right-hander, Flanagan throws primarily a fastball, curveball and changeup. He said one of his best games of the season was a 5-2 loss to Class 4A's fifth-ranked St. Michael Albertville last week.
"The changeup I used that mostly in the St. Michael game for their No. 2-5 batters," he said. "I got a few of those guys to strike out on that.
"I have a high percentage of strikes with the fastball. The curve is not how it used to be but it's still effective."
A 2-year starter who received All-Central Lakes Conference honorable mention as a junior, Flanagan also has had a solid year at first base, compiling a .967 fielding average, highest of any starter. He leads the team in putouts with 109 and has added 10 assists with just four errors.
"Last year was Bryce's first ever playing first base," Scearcy said. "He actually won our golden glove award last year at first base because he came along so well over there. He's very solid at first, no doubt about it, defensively."
In the past, Flanagan played mostly third base and shortstop. He said the adjustment to first wasn't as daunting as he initially thought it would be.
"The toughest part was going out to find a glove," he said. "Coach asked if I wanted to play first and I've just adapted to it."
Other notable efforts:
• Tanner Lundberg, tennis, won the North Subsection 8-2A singles title and improved his record to 23-1.
• Travis and Garrett Goeden, tennis, finished third in the subsection doubles tournament.
• Steve Low and Nathan Rud, tennis, finished fourth in the subsection doubles tournament.
• Julia Wallace, girls golf, earned all-conference honors for a third-place finish in the CLC season standings.
• Jeff Spieker, boys track, won the 110 hurdles in the CLC meet and joined Zach Henke, Matt Cherne and Hunter Turcotte to win the 4x100 relay.
• Lili Charlier, girls track, won the shot put at the CLC meet.
• Jack Evans, boys golf, was medalist for the CLC season and was named to the All-CLC team with teammates Gavin Metz, Erik Stoxen and Cody Evans.
• Jordyn Sullivan, softball, was 3-for-3 with a double and home run vs. Bemidji.
• McCale Peterson, baseball, was 3-for-6 in a doubleheader vs. Apollo, drove in three runs and pitched a 4-hit complete game with five strikeouts.