This week, Extra Inning Softball is at the Top Club National in Oklahoma City and we’ll be reporting on top players and teams we seen as we advance towards Saturday’s championship games at 18U, 16U and 14U.
Here’s a spotlight on one of the top 2023’s we’re excited to watch in person, Katie Flannery, who has quite the year on the fields… and on the hardcourt!
In the fall the Birmingham Thunderbolts 04 team was dominant in every tournament Jay Roberson’s team played in: the Bolts only lost one game all season and they are one of the top teams to watch this summer at the 16U level (they were ranked #2 in the Extra Elite Eighty Club Rankings).
Hitting in the in the 3-5 spot, Katie led the team in home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage and was near the top in batting average A true utility player who can line-up with equal success at catcher and third at the club level, she even plays shortstop and some outfield at the high school level. In last year’s 2023 Extra Elite 100, Katie was ranked in the Top 15 because of her overall skills including a dangerous power bat.
Bolts teammate, Samantha Roe, herself a catcher and the top-ranked player in the 2022 Extra Elite 100, said about Katie: “When I hear the name Katie Flannery, I automatically think ‘amazing ballplayer.’ When I say ‘ballplayer,’ I mean softball and basketball player.
“Being able to maintain and keep up with school in one sport can be difficult,” Sam continues, “but Katie makes it look easy by playing two sports while also keeping a straight A average. She is definitely smart on and off the field. During games it’s not surprising to see her play many different positions. Softball comes naturally to her because she has quick hands, great feet, and knows the game inside and out.”
“Katie is a great teammate who always pushes us to be the best that we can be while also staying positive and uplifting. She is one of the best players I’ve had the pleasure to play with and I’m lucky to also have her as a friend.”
After the successful fall season, Katie transitioned into basketball where her high school team, Spain Park (Hoover, Alabama) was nationally ranked and ended up winning the 7A State Title with the two-sport star contributing as a freshman. She was named to the State Championship All-Tournament team as well.
Her senior hoops teammate Sarah Ashlee Barker, the Gatorade State Girl’s Basketball Player of the Year and a Georgia signee, said: “To know Katie is to know her hard work ethic. Not only does she give 110 percent through all the things that she does, she is also a true definition of a leader.”
“After a weekend softball tournament she would get up for 6:30 am (basketball) practice Monday morning without any complaints,” Sarah explained. “Even though she was exhausted, she continued to outwork everyone she went against."
"Katie is one of the most selfless teammates I have ever been around and she always looks to put the team first. Her competitive drive is one of her best qualities, but the thing that impressed me most was how, as a freshman, she was one of the key leaders on our team and helped lead the team to a basketball state championship.”
With the school’s basketball season being extended deep into the state playoffs, Katie was late in joining her teammates on the Spain Park softball team. However, once she switched her basketball shoes for cleats, she performed like she hadn’t missed a practice, batting .500 (11-for-22) with three home runs and a trio of doubles before the season ended.
Spain Park was undefeated (21-0) and was ranked #1 in the state and #4 in the country when everything was shut down due to COVID-19, or it’s possible Katie could have had two high school state titles in her freshman year.
It’s a new season—literally—and with the loaded Bolts 04 roster, Katie and her Purple and Gold clad teammates have high expectations for the summer…
****Go Inside "Extra Star Power" to learn more about one of the top 2023 prospects in the nation.