Flessner makes history as double Pitcher of the Week


Brooke Sotelo

lo Kyle Flessner, pitcher, had a program record 16 strikeouts resulting in a one-hit shutout for PNW against Wayne State to win 5-0 on April 7.

Pitcher Kyle Flessner is known for being persistent.

In 2016, Flessner tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow during a pitch and had to have reconstructive surgery. Later that year, he rejoined his then-Kankakee Community College team and, with them, won the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association National Championship.

This year on April 9, Flessner was named Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Pitcher of the Week for striking out a program record 16 batters resulting in a one-hit shutout for PNW against Wayne State to win 5-0 on April 7. He was also named National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division II National Pitcher of the Week on April 12.

Dave Griffin, baseball team head coach, called Flessner a competitor who manages the game well.

“The will to compete is what separates him from other players, plus he never backs down,” Griffin said. “Kyle’s demeanor on game day is off the charts along with his ability to compete.”

Flessner, junior health studies major, said his biggest challenge has been to learn how to deal with failure.

“Before the good game that I had this year, I had not been pitching to my fullest potential and it was getting really frustrating,” Flessner said. “You only get every five games to show what you can do if you are a starting pitcher.”

Flessner said he enjoys the opportunities playing for PNW has brought him, including making friends and receiving a scholarship to pursue his education.

He started playing baseball because of his older brother and he has not stopped since. Additionally, he credits his high school coach, Jon Donovan at Rantoul Township High School in Rantoul, Illinois, in providing the most help with his skills. Flessner said Donovan always made the players a top priority and went out of his way to help him specifically.

Balancing baseball, academics and a social life is complicated, Flessner said. When he has too much going on to succeed at all three, he said he chooses two and hopes he can fit the other one in somewhere.

After he graduates, Flessner said he plans on playing baseball because he loves the game so much.