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.


Part 2 of Lori's story follows below:

Colonial Elementary School’s Lori Flannery has finished second in the country in her age group following her appearance in the MLB’s Pitch, Hit and Run competition held in Atlanta this past weekend as part of World Series festivities.

Not many fifth-graders can boast an accomplishment like that. Lori was one of three students across the country in her age range who qualified to participate in the Major League Baseball contest, which is open to students between the ages of 7 and 14. Lori made her way through several rounds of competition to make it to the national stage. As a competitor, she was invited to attend Game 4 of the World Series, which featured the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves. Her image was projected on the Jumbotron during the second inning of the Oct. 30th game for thousands of spectators to see. 

On Nov. 1, she put all of her hard work and practice to the test. During the competition, she nailed the pitch and run portions, according to her mother, Wendy Flannery. However, she struggled a bit with the hitting portion, even though this is an area in which she typically excels. Most of her hits were below 50 feet instead of the 100-plus feet she usually achieves. 

While she had her heart set on coming back with a first-place trophy, Lori is learning from the experience with the help of her family and friends, who are proud of her finish regardless of the place.

“We talked a lot about how being first place is so easy and the emotions behind that are so much fun. But being runner-up is a lot more challenging emotionally,” said Mrs. Flannery. “Still, she brought the trophy to school to show her teachers and friends and is holding her head high.”

It has been a whirlwind of an October for Lori. Since Channel 6 ABC featured her on a sports segment, she has been honored by Whitemarsh Township and the police and fire departments even held a parade for her. It will be exciting to see what Lori does next, as one of her goals is to become the first female wide receiver in the National Football League.

“I want to succeed,” she said. “I love football.”