Softball: BOLD star has a bright future

Apr. 19—OLIVIA — A rising star is brewing for the BOLD softball team.

It is Kaitlyn Flann.

Flann has been dominant for the Warriors. She has pitched every inning with two no-hitters, helping

jump out to a 7-0 overall record this spring.

The eighth-grader has tallied 48 strikeouts and has walked two in 41 innings. She has allowed 19 hits and 13 runs. Only one was earned.

Flann has also been productive in the batter's box as the clean-up hitter. She is hitting 8-for-20 with a double, nine RBIs, five walks and one run. That's a .400 batting average.

Through her productivity on both sides of the ball, Flann has helped the Warriors out-score their opponents 72-13.

"We're off to a strong start," Flann said. "We've done a good job of limiting our errors and we've had a really good start offensively.

"We're just trying to stay confident and play our game."

Yet, Flann's early dominance in her second varsity season has not come out of nowhere.

Flann was a West Central Tribune All-Area First Team pick and an All-Camden Conference selection as a seventh grader for the Renville County West/BOLD co-op softball team.

The RCW/BOLD co-op was intact for two seasons before the two teams split this season. RCW/BOLD was 14-5 overall in 2023.

Flann entered this season knowing that she would need to take on even more responsibility in the circle due to players lost because of the schools splitting.

"I gained a lot of confidence (from last year)," Flann said. "Last year we had a few backup pitchers. But this year, we're a little limited. I want to go out and pitch the best I can. I'm just staying confident and knowing that I can."

And as Flann continues to be BOLD's ace while working through the responsibilities and pressures that come along with that, especially at a young age, luckily for her, she lives with a pretty solid coach and mentor.

Erin (Gunderson) Flann, Kaitlyn's mother, a 2002 graduate of the NCAA Division III Concordia-Moorhead, is the only two-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association Midwest All-Region award winner in the program's history.

Erin was an inductee into the Cobbers Athletic Hall of Fame in the fall of 2023 for softball, alongside the likes of Ryan Hebrink of Sacred Heart (Class of '04, baseball and football) and Jeremy Hinderks of Renville ('04, baseball and football).

Erin holds the records for most career wins and lowest career earned run average for the Cobbers. She won 42 games in her career, recording the most shutouts and finishing seasons with the highest batting average, on-base percentage and most home runs.

"I've worked with my mom for about four years now," Kaitlyn said. "She's taught me everything I know.

"She knows how I learn best and she knows a lot. She helps me better all my pitches and teaches me more on the mental side of knowing that you have to stay mentally tough in the circle."

Kaitlyn has thought about the future, a little bit. Softball is something she hopes to continue doing for a long time.

"I am pretty young still, but I feel like if I work really hard, I could be as good as my mom or better," Kaitlyn said. "I'm hoping to be better."

Kaitlyn and Erin are not the only athletes in the Flann family.

Derek Flann, Kaitlyn's father, was inducted into the Cobbers Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019 for football. He currently serves as BOLD's athletic director and is the head coach of the Warriors football team.

A 2003 graduate, Derek received the Mike Stam Award as the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's most outstanding lineman following the conclusion of his senior season. He was one of 40 NCAA Division III players to play for Team USA in the 2002 Aztec Bowl in Torreon, Mexico.

Owen Flann and Emmitt Flann, Kaitlyn's two brothers, are also three-sport athletes at BOLD. Owen, a junior, is on varsity for football, basketball and baseball. Emmitt, a sophomore, is on varsity for football, wrestling and baseball.

Ema Flann, Kaitlyn's cousin, also plays for the BOLD softball team. She is a seventh-grader who serves as the team's starting catcher and bats in the lead-off position.

"We've played together for a really long time," Kaitlyn said. "We practice a lot in the summertime and we work out together.

"It's really fun to see how we're both at the varsity level now."

BOLD only has one upperclassmen on its roster of 14 players, senior Delaney Tersteeg.

There are three sophomores — Isabel O'Neill, Zoey Lippert and Maggie Ludowese — and the remaining 10 are ninth-graders or younger.

Kaitlyn believes that the program has a bright outlook ahead of it.

"I feel like we're going to be really solid in the future," Kaitlyn said. "We're still at a rebuilding point in our program right now.

"We're going to be very strong in the future and we're just focusing on getting better every day."

Although young, the Warriors have some bold goals in mind.

"I feel like coming out as one of the top teams in our conference is one of our big goals," Kaitlyn said. "Then, making a section run is something that we really want to achieve because we feel like we can do it this year."