Regan Flaherty knows in the baseball world he’s still Ed Flaherty’s son and Ryan Flaherty’s little brother.
That’s the way it goes when his dad has won two Division III national titles at the University of Southern Maine and his brother is fighting for a roster spot with the Baltimore Orioles.
“There are always a lot of comparisons and I’m fine with that,” Regan said.
But over the last two years, Regan Flaherty has worked to carve his own identity.
After following his brother at Deering High, Regan Flaherty continued on the same path and went to Vanderbilt. That’s where Ryan starred from 2006-08 until he was a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs.
After seeing limited time as a redshirt freshman as Vanderbilt reached the 2011 College World Series, Regan Flaherty said it was time to take stock of his career. He realized his plate appearances were likely to remain limited and opted to transfer to Seminole State College.
“When I left Vanderbilt I wanted to get back to Division I with a competitive team,” Flaherty said.
He found that spot at Western Kentucky. Now in his junior season he has started every game, usually batting third, for the Hilltoppers (14-11).
“I think it does take a little bit of the pressure off to be at a different college,” Flaherty said. “I wanted to come someplace where I felt I was going to play every day. I wasn’t sure that would happen at Vanderbilt.”
He ended up at Western Kentucky in large part due to Hilltoppers assistant coach Blake Allen, a volunteer assistant at Vanderbilt when Ryan Flaherty was there. Allen met Regan when Regan attended baseball camps at the school.
“I think from a hitting perspective, Regan’s number one trait is he has a short memory,” Allen said. “He doesn’t let his first at-bat affect his last at-bat. He’s obviously an older guy and being around his brother and dad, who is a legendary coach, he has the maturity factor. He’s like a 10-year big league veteran in terms of his approach.”
Flaherty started the season on an eight-game hitting streak and after a 3-for-5 day at Tennessee, was hitting .328 through 16 games. Since then Flaherty has cooled off, with five hits in his last 32 at-bats.
Flaherty has started all 24 games, playing mostly as a corner outfielder with some work at first base. He is hitting .271 with a .342 on-base percentage.
Flaherty said his baseball travels have helped him “grow as a person and as a player.”
“As a person it’s just a matter of being able to handle adversity and knowing I’m not opposed to change,” Flaherty said. “From a baseball perspective, getting used to three different programs in three years, I look back on it and I’m thankful I made the move. Personally I think it was the right move.”
A management and finance major, Flaherty said he wants to “play baseball as long as I can. I’d like to have a career after college but obviously I want to be able to do something with my finance degree.”
Western Kentucky is 5-1 and tied for first in the 10-team Sun Belt Conference after being picked seventh in the preseason poll. The conference tournament begins May 22. Western Kentucky’s most recent NCAA appearance was 2009.
University of Maine-Fort Kent junior Jenn Colpitts of Scarborough won a second straight female athlete of the year award at the school. Colpitts was a starting midfielder on the women’s soccer team that reached the USCAA national final. As the top scorer, she led the basketball team to its first trip to the USCAA national tourney, reaching the quarterfinals.
Senior Jeremy Harper of Bath, a member of the men’s soccer team, was the male winner of the Terry Drown award for scholastic achievement.
University of New Haven senior right-hander Taylor Candage of Portland (Deering) picked up a recent win against Stonehill. Candage is 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA with 11 strikeouts and two walks in 14 innings.
Gettysburg senior second baseman Katie Lang of Kennebunk, a four-year starter known for her defense, has hit .349 with two doubles and nine RBI, and is 6 of 6 in steals.
• Another former Kennebunk High player, four-year Sunday Telegram All-State catcher Janelle Bouchard, is playing well in her first year at Valparaiso. Bouchard leads her team in RBI and doubles, and is tied for the team lead with two home runs. Her .354 average is second on the team, which plays in the Horizon League.
Bentley freshman Malcolm Oliver of Damariscotta was named the Northeast-10 rookie of the week after placing 11th at the Bayside Resort Invitational.
Southern New Hampshire University junior Ellie Morin of Scarborough was named the Northeast-10 player of the week after notching 14 goals and four assists in three victories. She had six goals and three assists in a 15-12 win over Merrimack. In seven games, Morin has 26 goals and seven assists.
• In Husson University’s 16-12 win against the University of Dallas on Saturday, first-year player Anna Wolterbeek of Wells (Lewiston High), first-year player Alissa Fallon of Kennebunk and senior defender Amanda Burns of Rockland each had a goal. Husson is 2-2 after a 21-10 loss Monday at UNE. Wolterbeek had two goals and an assist, and Fallon had a goal and assist against UNE.
• Wheaton College freshman Allie Busch of Kennebunk and junior Leila Mills of Brunswick both scored two goals in Saturday’s 13-11 win against MIT.
• St. Michael’s College sophomore Kate Boyer of Standish (Bonny Eagle) scored three goals with an assist in a recent loss to Southern New Hampshire. Boyer also scored three goals in the next game, a win against Southern Connecticut.
MEN’S TRACK AND FIELD
Wheaton College freshman Sam Miklovich of Gray-New Gloucester and senior Sam Fear of Bath (North Yarmouth Academy) were part of a 1,600 relay team that finished second, the Lyons’ best finish at Saturday’s Bridgewater State University Invitational. Fear was also fourth in the javelin (184-7), fifth in the high jump (6-0) and 15th in the shot put.
WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD
Wheaton freshman Amanda Peterson of Gray-New Gloucester was third in the 100-meter dash (13.5 seconds) at the Bridgewater meet. Her freshman teammate, Emily Rand of Falmouth, helped Wheaton’s 1,600 relay team place second.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at email@example.com