By: Robert Stevens
American International College left handed pitcher James Flahive will be joining his eighth summer collegiate league team this summer with the Utica Blue Sox. Originally slated to join the team in 2020, the 24 year old pitcher is preparing for one last season on the mound.
Prior to joining the Blue Sox, Flahive has been on seven different summer collegiate teams in a variety of locations on the east coast. Amongst these teams were the Onondaga Flames, Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, Worcester Bravehearts, Sherrill Silversmiths, North Adams SteepleCats, Tobacco Valley Renegades, and People’s United Bank.
While playing for these teams, Flahive was able to achieve multiple championships while playing in 2018 with the Flames and Vineyard Sharks. Flahive discussed that that was the most fun he ever had in a summer.
“It was a really fun experience,” Flahive said. “It’s basically like going on a vacation in the summer for a couple weeks. I even got to live at the Vandy house. I was well suited there so that was my favorite summer.”
Coming into the summer at the age of 24, Flahive had a decision to make. Should I finish my career as a Yellow Jacket or a Blue Sock? The answer became clear a few weeks ago as he stepped to the mound for his final season at AIC.
“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back and play, but I’m off to a great start” Flahive said. “I felt like in the fall I was going a bit down but now I feel stronger than ever.”
Furthermore, Flahive believes his arm was built to play summer ball.
“I feel like I pitch my best during the summer,” Flahive said. “I feel like my arms are strongest because it’s warm the entire season and you’re playing every single day. Plus, you don’t have to worry about school as much.”
This season, Flahive has pitched 8.2 innings allowing only seven hits and has struckout five batters. Flahive steps onto the mound with an advantage. According to him, it’s the fact that he is weird as a left-handed pitcher.
“As a left-handed pitcher, we’re born to be weird,” Flahive said. “We are weird. I don’t even throw over the top. I throw more like a sidearm. Righties hate lefties so every team could use some good lefties.”
Flahive believes it’s not just his weirdness as a left-handed pitcher that will help the Blue Sox, but his cut-throat competitiveness.
“When I get locked in when I’m on the mound and I get my signs, I can’t hear the dugout or the fans,” Flahive said. “I’m just locked into the catcher and me and just striking this guy out.”
When deciding to sign onto your eighth summer league, there requires an extreme degree of love and passion for the game. This is very apparent with Flahive who always strives for perfection.
“You gotta bring it every single day,” Flahive said. “It’s a priority for the summer and you have to have 100 percent of your effort into the team. That includes the weight room and constantly self improving and getting better.”
For Flahive, his path to attend AIC was paved. His mother and uncle both formerly attended the college. Additionally, his family lives only an estimated 15 minutes from the grounds. It became an easy commitment after he was offered a spot on the team after excelling in their prospect camp.
Beyond baseball, Flahive is a young entrepreneur turning his passion for video games into a business.
“I’ve collected video games for about 12 years so I have over 2,000 physical video games and I turned it into a big business of mine that’s helped me fund my baseball activities and pay my way through college,” Flahive said. “It’s a really fun experience and I killed it. I haven’t had a regular full-time job.”
Coming into his eighth summer league team with the Blue Sox, Flahive is looking forward to getting back on the mound come June 4th. To him, the experience never gets old.
“I thought my chances were done,” Flahive said. “When I got this opportunity, I was like ‘you know what, I’m going to end on a bang.’ This is my last hurrah for summer collegiate ball playing for a great league with tremendous fans. It’s something that you can never take for granted.”