Evan Flohr admitted he may have had a little stage fright under the bright lights of Comerica Park.
But the Northville senior acquitted himself quite well as he pitched out of a sixth-inning jam as the East edged the West, 4-3, in Wednesday’s 34th annual Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Classic.
Flohr, who is headed to pitch at Cypress Community College (Calif.), found himself in a bit of a pickle in his only inning on the mound while trying to keep it a 1-1 game.
Zach Berry (Haslett) drew a walk to open the inning and West MVP Bryce Windham singled off the Northville left-hander. Both runners then moved up to second and third, respectively, on a stolen base.
But Flohr was able to bear down in the no-out situation as he got Jordan Swiss (Charlevoix) and Trace Woodworth (Petoskey) on infield pop-outs before getting Thomas Lindeman (Milan) on a fly to left to end the inning.
“I was a little nervous my first couple of batters, but I bounced back and threw strikes, and got myself out of it,” Flohr said. “It was good.”
And after the East scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 3-1 lead, Flohr was the pitcher of record was in line for the victory only to have the West bounce back with two in the top of the eighth to knot the game at 3-3.
The East then won it in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single by team MVP Anthony Gutierrez (Detroit Western International).
“I had the win, but I didn’t even know it until saw my dad (Bill) mouthing it to me in the stands,” Flohr said. “No big deal. It was a team win more than anything.”
One thing that Flohr will chalk up as a baseball memory bank were the pristine field conditions at Comerica.
“Probably the best mound I’ve thrown on,” he said. “It was real nice. “The bullpen was just as good, if not better.”
Flohr earned a spot on the East All-Star team after a stellar senior season where he went 8-1 with a 1.26 earned run average. He struck out 69 and walked only 16 in 49.2 innings of work for the 28-3 Mustangs, who went 18-0 in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association, which included Central Division, Kensington Conference and KLAA titles.
Unfortunately the Mustangs’ season ended prematurely on May 26 when host Brighton ousted Northville in MHSAA Division 1 pre-district, 6-0, which turned out to be Flohr’s only loss of the season.
But in his final appearance as a high schooler, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound lefty can say he went out a winner.
“I thought it was a great experience, I met a lot of new people and bonded with some people that I didn’t even know until yesterday,” Flohr said. “So it was a good experience.”
This summer, Flohr is staying sharp by pitching for the 18-and-under South Oakland Athletics(based in Madison Heights).
“We just had a tournament over the weekend, so I’ve been staying on top of my throwing,” Flohr said. “I got plenty of rest, made sure I didn’t lift too heavily before I came out here, and I wanted to be fresh for the game, so it was good.”
In August, Flohr will embark on the next phase of his baseball career when he heads to California.
“There’s a kid (Anthony Hutting) a few years ago that came from California and played for Northville as a freshman, one of only two freshman ever to play for Northville on varsity,” Flohr said. “He went out and finished at Cal-State Fullerton and now he’s an assistant coach at Cypress.”
Flohr is one of two Michigan recruits headed to Cypress joining Clarkston’s Spencer Hereford. Last year Cypress went 25-13 and 14-7 in the conference. The JUCO program has been a springboard for numerous players to the NCAA Division I ranks.
“It’s wonderful,” Flohr said. “Great field, great facilities and the school is beautiful.”
And who knows? Flohr could come back full circle one day and pitch again at Comerica Park.
And once again he would have to navigate through another case of the jitters – which would be a good thing.