Jacob Flaherty’s off-season grind


As some of you know, Jacob Flaherty is a junior at Elder High school where now both of his parents are on the staff. Jacob Flaherty is a pitcher for the baseball team and was a solid pitcher in his JV season.

He wanted to take things up a notch so, he attended a baseball camp in the Dominican Republic for a whole month without his family and stayed with family friends who he barely knew and who barely speak any English. When most people found out that Jacob attended this camp for a whole month, most people would say. “Holy crap. How?”. I interviewed him myself to hear what he had to personally say about his trip to the Dominican Republic.

The first thing that I asked Jacob was what was his goals to achieve before he arrived in the Dominican Republic. He responded, “I wanted to become a better person. Take the next step from a little boy, to a “man”. I wanted to be fully emerged into a Spanish country to communicate better with my Spanish family.” As some people know, Jacob is an extremely good Spanish student, but he didn’t know enough Spanish to communicate to his family friends down in the Dominican Republic. I asked him communication wise, how hard was it to cooperate with your family friends and coaches?

Flaherty said, ” It was so hard sometimes because I can barely even vocally communicate with them. I had to use body expressions and my limited Spanish knowledge to communicate with them.” Throughout his trip, Jacob said he made for progress with communicating.

Would you eat Mangu?

I then got into the topic of food because the food must be different. Right? I asked Flaherty, what did you eat on a regular basis? He responded with, “I had at least three meals a day. Mangu for breakfast, which is plantains crush up and served. It is a popular meal among the baseball players in that country. For lunch I would have some sort of rice and beans, meats, vegetables, and fresh fruit that is known in the Dominican Republic. For dinner It was always some sort of meat with rice and it was crazy different.” He also explained he ate the same meals as some of the best Dominican Republic baseball players to ever come out of the country.

Jacob Flaherty (Right) grinding

Now into the baseball questions. Flaherty didn’t go to sit around all day just eating different foods and learning something he is already good at. He went to become a better pitcher. Thank God.

I asked him, how many days a week was the baseball camp? He responded by saying, “Five days a week with lifting afterwards. My trainer was a pretty good one. You know, he trained Luis Castillo how to pitch and everything.” Jacob Flaherty is so lucky, that he even brought up that maybe, he will get to meet Castillo in person. “Maybe”. I assumed, if you are in a country that barely speaks any English, and a whole new different coaching standpoint, the camp must have been hard. So, I asked him, on a scale of 1-10, how hard was the camp? He said, “Ugg it was probably a solid 8 and a half to a 9. So much stress on my body for a whole month. I was crazy that I had so much that I had so much physical pain that I had for that month. One of the most difficult experiences that I have ever done.”

If you were to spend a whole month in a different country training non-stop, you must get better right? I asked Flaherty, how much progress did you make after the trip? Flaherty said, “I was so much more developed when I came back home. My pitching mechanics got extremely better. I understood how I did some things wrong, and why I am doing these things and why it is so important to focus on the fundamentals of baseball.” Now most pitchers know, to be a good pitcher, you must have good pitching mechanics. Mechanics are key.

Jacob Flaherty standing next to a memorial

One of the last things I asked him was how was the scenery? He responded by saying, “The scenery was beautiful I can tell you. Beautiful skies, waters, and house structures. It’s like a whole new world there. Some of the cities are torn down. No one follows the driving laws. I only saw one cop car throughout my trip.” The thing that I picked up about this answer is that, we are lucky to have such a nice city with less poverty than some of these countries.

I found out that for Flaherty, the camp was extremely hard, the cities were in bad condition, people didn’t follow traffic laws, and no one barely spoke English. The last question I asked Jacob Flaherty was If you had the chance to do it again, would you? He said,” That’s tough. Being a kid in high school, a sport taking away your summer is tough on a teenager mind you know. But again, it was crazy beneficial to me.”

Most sophomores got to go on the Wyoming trip, but not Jacob Flaherty. This was Flaherty’s Wyoming trip. The last thing that Flaherty told me is, “It may have been the one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but it was the best experience of my life.”

Jacob Flaherty is heading into his Junior season; will he step up for the Panthers? Only time will tell.