Wednesday, April 23, 2014
By Steve Craig email@example.com
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.
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