Colonial Elementary School fifth-grader Lori Flannery will be recognized during Game 4 of the World Series this year for being one of the nation’s three highest-scoring players in the Pitch, Hit and Run Competition sponsored by Major League Baseball (MLB).
The Competition is open to students between the ages of 7 and 14, and Lori competed first in Whitemarsh Township and then advanced to a regional competition that was held at Citizens Bank Park. In Philadelphia, she finished first in her age group and acquired one of the highest scores for being able to strike a target while pitching, hit a ball for the most distance, and run from first base to third base. Now, she’s preparing for a trip to a major city somewhere in the United States, depending on which two teams make it into the World Series. She’ll compete once again (this time on the national stage) and also be recognized before a national audience during Game 4.
“It’s going to be great,” she said. “Not a lot of kids get to do this.”
She’s hoping she may get to visit a city on the West Coast. In the meantime, though, she is doing all that she can to polish up on her skills. She practices every day in the backyard, with her dad coaching her. Workouts include tasks like hitting off a tee and doing push-ups to strengthen her muscles.
“You have to work hard to do this,” she said. “It’s not easy.”
Lori looks to athletes like Bryce Harper from the Philadelphia Phillies for inspiration. She wears a Harper-inspired headband every time she competes - it has never been washed and she doesn’t intend to clean it anytime soon.
“I’m going to wear it until it disintegrates,” she said.
Her mother, father, and brother will join her on the trip to the World Series and she said they are excited for what’s to come. Although she admits to feeling nervous about competing, Lori said she is able to get herself through the jitters once she gets on the field to play.
“I just push that aside and compete,” said Lori. “I want first (place).”
Teacher Dana Coia said it is apparent that Lori is an incredible athlete with confidence, drive and determination. In addition to those qualities, Miss Coia said Lori has a heart of gold.
“From the moment I met her, I was blown away by her kindness and respect for others. She is the child who will take a moment to ask how your day is going, comment on something a classmate is interested in, or lend a helping hand,” she said. “I have witnessed her genuine, kind-hearted nature in countless situations and it is truly admirable.”
Miss Coia and the rest of Lori’s classmates will be cheering her on.
“It has been incredible watching their enthusiasm and support for Lori,” said Miss Coia of her fifth-grade students. “They really respect her as both an athlete and a friend.”
Lori has been featured on Channel 6 Action News for her accomplishment, and during that interview, she shared that her ambition is to become a National Football League wide receiver. Even though she has always played softball, Lori said her true love is football and she is determined to find a way to break into the sport professionally.
“I want to play football because I know women aren’t allowed, which I think is the worst,” she said.
At the young age of 11, Lori seems to already know what she needs to do in order to achieve her goals.
“You have to work hard for it,” she said.