CEDAR RAPIDS — Abby Flannagan’s travel troubles turned into a Coe treasure.
An unfortunate recruiting trip that left a then 18-year-old West Delaware standout stranded alone overnight at an airport terminal almost 20 hours from home, helped her land close to home.
Flannagan has produced an impressive softball career, rewriting the Kohawks’ offensive record books and leading them to two straight Iowa Conference regular-season titles. She will try to lead Coe to an IIAC tournament championship, beginning Friday at Clark Field. Top-seeded Coe will face the winner between Dubuque and Simpson at 2 p.m.
Flannagan debated between being an NCAA Division I player at University of Dayton, or go to Coe, splitting her focus between softball and pre-med studies. Her trip to Ohio included issues that forced her plane to be rerouted to Atlanta. The experience made her realize she preferred to remain closer to home.
“I got home and I called (Coe Coach Bob) Timmons and I said that’s that,” Flannagan said. “I know for a fact that I am not going that far away from home. My trip was miserable.
“It was meant to be.”
Timmons remembered the call. He felt bad for Flannagan, considering the travel circumstances, but was happy for the addition to the Kohawks.
“I was an excited guy,” Timmons said. “We were in need of a catcher and I knew she was going to be a good player for us.”
Good is an understatement for the career she has produced. The 2011 Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association second-team All-American selection holds a handful of records at Coe, including home runs (42), RBIs (181), total bases (381) and walks (67). She is also second with 44 total doubles.
This season, she leads Coe with RBIs and is second on the team in home runs (6), doubles (9) and total bases (63). Her 34 hits and .500 slugging percentage are third for the Kohawks.
“She’s had some tough luck,” Timmons said. “She’s hit the ball as hard and as well as the first three years, but a lot of the time right at somebody.
“She still leads the team. She has 32 RBIs, still batting the in the third spot, and driving in runs when we need them.”
Flannagan made an immediate impact as a freshman motivated by a chance to be the starting catcher immediately. Her work ethic paid dividends as she expanded her offensive ability.
“I wasn’t the power hitter I am here,” Flannagan said. “I improved above and beyond coming to Coe.
“I was in the cage more than anyone my freshman year, because I was so scared that spot was going to be taken from me. I was in here a lot. Extra hours put in.”
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