After getting few at bats his first two seasons and bouncing around the infield last year, Lawrence High School graduate John Flynn finally has a regular position and spot in the Worcester Polytechnic Institute lineup.

And he is playing the best baseball of his collegiate career.

A senior, Flynn is the Engineers’ center fielder and hits third in the lineup. Through WPI’s first 15 games, Flynn had a .393 batting average, with one home run, seven runs batted in, and eight runs scored.

“Just knowing he has a regular position helps,” WPI coach Mike Callahan said. “I don’t think he’s had a steady position until this year. He’s probably the most athletic kid we’ve had in four years.”

Flynn entered this season with a .225 career batting average, but the 2011 season was his first as an everyday starter. Playing third base and second, Flynn started 32 of WPI’s 33 games.

“My first two years I was a spot player. I only got 30, 40 at bats. Last year, I got 120-130 at bats, and that’s helped,” Flynn said. “In baseball, you get into a rhythm and now I’m able to do that.”

Callahan says much of Flynn’s success at the plate comes simply from playing time, but the coaching staff also worked on helping him became a more patient hitter.

“He had a tendency last year to swing at bad pitches,” Callahan said. “We have him really waiting on his pitch.”

When another outfielder suffered an ankle injury playing football last fall, Callahan thought of Flynn’s athleticism.

“I told him right from the beginning, ‘You’re our center fielder, ‘ ” Callahan said.

An infielder/pitcher his entire life, Flynn is learning his new position on the job, but he likes it.

“There’s a lot more communication with the other outfielders than when you play the infield,” Flynn said. “The best is when you see one off the bat, running one down and catching it. The pitcher always appreciates it when he makes a mistake and you make the play.”

Added Callahan: “I think he loves it. He gets a good read on the ball. Even if he didn’t like it, I don’t think he’d tell me. He just works hard.”

A Civil Engineering major, Flynn has a job lined up with Consigli Construction, a firm he’s worked for the past two summers. Before graduation, however, Flynn wants to help the Engineers get back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since his freshman season.

WPI is 10-5, and faces New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference rival Springfield this weekend, beginning with a single game today before a doubleheader Saturday.

“These are three big conference games,” Flynn said. “Hopefully we can get back to the (NCAA) regionals.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

 


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