Flanigan is pitch perfect

Sinead Flanigan will represent Australia at the Baseball World Cup in August. Picture: COURTESY OF SMP IMAGES/BASEBALL AUSTRALIA MEDIA

By Hayley Wildes

 When you’ve had the sort of consistent and frustrating injuries that Sinead Flanigan has endured throughout her career, representing Australia once again means all that much more the second time around.

A right-handed pitcher for the Springvale Lions, 30-year-old Flanigan can fire down a fast-ball like few others. Her baseball talent is unquestioned and after retiring a few years ago, she has returned to the sport she loves so much.

After representing the Australia Emeralds at the 2010 Baseball World Cup, Flanigan, who had a history of shoulder injuries, was struck down once again.

“I came back [from the World Cup] and all my shoulder issues came about again and I was told I needed another surgery to clean up all the damage as my original surgery didn’t go to plan.” Flanigan said.

She admitted she gave up on the sport and stopped playing for a couple of years. But she missed the sport too much and returned.

“I just missed the game so much. I started playing again casually and turned myself into an outfielder and worked on my batting, so that I didn’t have to pitch to save my arm a little bit.” She said.

With hard work and determination, Flanigan made her way back into the Australian team.

Last year on an Emeralds tour of Japan, Flanigan began pitching again and realised that her shoulder ‘was actually fine’. Since then, she has not looked back.

After having the game taken away from her, Flanigan is now injury-free and loving the sport more than ever and she admits that being involved with the Australian program this time around feels different.

“I feel like I didn’t really take those moments and appreciate what I had the first time.” She said.

“This time it’s very, very different. I think I’ve grown up a lot and I love working hard now and I love being around people similar to me.”

“Just being around those elite athletes; it’s such an inspiration to play with some of those girls.”

The hard work has certainly paid off. Flanigan was recently named to the Australian Emeralds roster as a pitcher for the 2018 Women’s Baseball World Cup, which is being held in Florida, USA in August.

“I can’t wait. I’m really, really excited.” Flanigan said.

“I think we’ve got a really good chance at a medal this year.”

Flanigan credits the Springvale Lions Baseball Club as having shaped her into the player she is today. With Simone Wearne (Australian head coach) heavily involved and superstar infielder and batter Shae Lillywhite head coach of the Lions women’s program, Springvale is a powerhouse club.

“The coaching staff there and the women’s program there is incredible. The level of training and development opportunities we get there is just unparalleled.” Flanigan said.

Competing at another World Cup – eight years after her first experience – is not just a credit to the skill that Sinead Flanigan possesses with ball in hand, it’s a credit to her sheer will and resolve of finding a way back to the top level of her sport.