Flynn, Mount Greylock's 'Scottie Pippen,' Continues Run in State Final
In a county where the high schools average fewer than 250 boys in grades 9 through 12 -- and most have far fewer -- three-sport athletes are not unusual.
Three-sport stars even are not unheard of.
But it's a sure bet that very few if any have had the kind of career that Mount Greylock senior second baseman Dan Flynn has put together.
On Saturday in Worcester, Flynn will don a high school uniform for the last time when the Mounties face St. Mary's of Lynn in the Division 3 State Championship Game.
Next year, the post-season just won't be the same without him.
Starting with his freshman year on the Mounties' soccer team, Flynn has gone to seven Western Massachusetts title games: three in soccer, two in hockey (with Wahconah's cooperative) and two in baseball.
His teams have won two sectional crowns: hockey a year ago and baseball last Saturday in Amherst.
"Remember the [Chicago] Bulls with Scottie Pippen?" Wahconah hockey coach Don Disbrow said on Friday morning. "Every team Danny plays on has an MJ, but he's that Scottie Pippen. He's always there. He's clutch.
"He had a clutch goal in penalty kicks with the soccer team. He had a hat trick this year to put us in the final. And he sparked the baseball team in the third inning the other day.
"The Bulls don't win all those championships without that guy."
And Berkshire County might have a couple fewer Western Mass Championships without Flynn.
"He's a little undersized and certainly was early on, but he makes up for it with his tenacity and toughness," Mount Greylock soccer coach Blair Dils said. "He's one of those guys who his teammates absolutely love playing with. He's emotional. He wears his heart out on his sleeve, an he he absolutely is just intent on winning.
"He's so competitive, and guys see those traits."
Coaches see a student-athlete who also is a student of the game.
"He asks questions," Dils said. "He's not just all toughness and playing hard. He thinks about the game and thinks about different decisions and brings a thoughtfulness to the game.
"I love a player who gives 100 percent physically but also mentally is that engaged."
Disbrow, a childhood friend of Dils' echoed that sentiment.
"He's constantly asking questions," Disbrow said. "He's very detail oriented.
"He gets very specific with his questions where most are the kids are erady to go line up and do whatever. It's awesome because the other kids now are catching up and learning whatever it is he asked about."
Disbrow said Flynn carries himself as a gentleman off the ice and is a natural leader on it.
"We've had some very good hockey players and good captains, but he's the best captain, I've had," Disbrow said, noting that Flynn did not wait until he was a captain to step up and be a leader.
"When we gave up a barrage of goals to Chicopee in the Western Mass finals last year and went down 6-3, that would have crushed most teams. Danny wasn't even wearing a 'C' or an 'A' at that point, but he was one of the kids speaking up in the locker room trying to calm things down."
The Mount Greylock baseball team benefits from nine senior leaders, including two others, like Flynn, who developed those skills on the soccer pitch.
Saturday's likely starting pitcher, Ian Brink, was a fullback for Dils in the fall. Mount Greylock's center fielder, Eric Hirsch, was one of the most dangerous scorers in the county.
"Eric is another player who plays with high intensity and high emotion," Dils said. "You're really glad he's on your side.
"Ian almost stopped playing soccer for a bit, but I thought last year with the soccer team his contribution was tremendous. He's a big, physical presence back there. And he's a guy who is going to keep it light. ... He's a bit of a clown in the locker room, and you need that."
On Saturday, the Mounties will need contributions from all of their nine seniors against a veteran St. Mary's team that boasts nine seniros of its own. The Spartans are 18-6 after roaring through the North sectional as the No. 6 seed and knocking off East Bridgewater, 3-2, in Wednesday's other state semi-final.
The Berkshires have not had a good time of it in state finals this year, going 0-for-3 with losses by Wahconah's football team and Hoosac Valley's boys and girls basketball squads.
On the other hand, Mount Greylock does already own a state championship this year, in Nordic skiing.
If the baseball team gets a second for the Mounties, Dils, who coached the soccer team to a state title in 2008, will not be there to see it.
"The two times I saw them play this year were two of their three losses," Dils said. "I told [baseball coach] Steve Messina I'd do him the favor of not going to any more."