ASHLAND, Ore. — It takes arm strength, instincts and drive, but perhaps more than any other position in sports, pitching is an art. That’s one of the reasons Jamie Flynn devotes countless hours to improving as Ashland’s star pitcher.
“I realize that pitching is what I love to do,” said Flynn. “Just being able to touch the ball before every play is what I want. So I definitely specialized towards becoming a pitcher.”
That specialization included dropping all other sports just to focus on baseball.
“I’ve always played three sports so I never had that much time off before,” said Flynn. “My parents were always like, if you specialize in one sport, you’re just going to sit around on the couch and eat potato chips and do the classic teenager thing like play video games. I really think that it didn’t really change for me as far as getting after it.”
That’s where the art of pitching comes in. Jamie works hard in the weight room and on the field, but he also values his time spent watching tape.
“By watching tape and watching other pitchers that have had success, that’s really helped me also. Pitching’s a mind game, and so it’s really good to be able to focus on that mental part of the game.”
“He always had a lot of questions about the game,” said pitching coach Chuck Thacker. “He always had a desire to learn and make himself better.”
When he’s on the mound, Jamie takes that mind game even further.
“It’s my time,” said Flynn. “I can make a game last four hours, or I can make it last an hour depending on what speed I’m at, and just having that contorl and that power is probably the best feeling for me.”
There’s no question that Jamie brings the control and power, but longtime pitching coach Chuck Thacker sees a little more.
“He knows how to pitch, but I think probably the quality for me that sets him apart is that he’s just such a tremendous competitor. He will literally, in some games, he’ll just refuse to lose. You can see it in his face. It’s not going to happen today.”
That competitiveness, along with his mental approach, make every pitch a work of art.