From Lyseth Elementary to Fenway: A Portland native’s path to the big leagues (videos)

Ryan Flaherty slapped a single into the right field of Fenway Park Sunday in the last game of what was otherwise a miserable weekend for most Maine baseball fans. It’s tough to see Boston swept by the Baltimore Orioles up here in the northernmost outpost of Red Sox Nation, but it was nice to see Flaherty, who won two Maine state baseball titles with Deering High School, get a hit in front of his New England friends and family.

Ryan Flaherty (Photo distributed by Portland Public Schools)

Today, the Portland school district announced the well-timed release of the latest in a series of profiles of “Outstanding Graduates of the Portland Public Schools” featuring Flaherty.

Flaherty turned a lot of heads earlier this spring when he made the Orioles’ opening day roster, and has since served as a utility man for the birds, playing first base, second base, shortstop, third base, left field and right field at various times (in case you thought I meant to say he played those positions simultaneously).

Said Flaherty in an excerpt released by the Portland schools:

The bonds and relationships that I built in school are something that remain today. My best friends still remain my best friends, all the way from Lyseth to Lyman Moore to Deering… It’s something that you can’t trade in for anything… The friends from your hometown is everything you have. When you need something, those are the people I go back to still today.

At the time of this writing, he’s connected for four hits in 24 at-bats with a lone RBI.

In his profile, Portland Public Schools follows Flaherty from Lyseth Elementary School  – where the soon-to-be baseball star fondly recalls talking baseball with teacher Ron Penney – to Lyman Moore Middle School and Deering High School.

Here’s how the district describes Flaherty’s sports career from Portland to Baltimore:

At Deering, Flaherty lettered in three sports — football, basketball and baseball — and he captained the 2005 football team. He was on one football team and two Deering baseball teams that won state championships, and he helped lead Nova Seafood to the 2004 American Legion World Series Championship.

Flaherty was a finalist for the Fitzpatrick award, given to Maine’s best high school football player. He was named the Gatorade Maine High School Player of the Year and the state’s Mr. Baseball Player of the Year.  He describes his time with the Deering Rams as the most fun he’s ever had playing baseball.

After his graduation in 2005, Flaherty attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He played shortstop on Vanderbilt’sCommodores baseball team during its ascension to the number one spot in the country. At one point, he had a 33-game hitting streak.

Flaherty left Vanderbilt in 2008 to play in the Minor Leagues for the Chicago Cubs. After three years, he was chosen as the Orioles’ Rule 5 draft pick. Flaherty, who bats left-handed and pitches right-handed, made his Major League debut at second base.

Flaherty himself talks about what growing up in Portland and going to Portland schools did for him as a youngster in this video released by the district:

Here’s another neat video I found, apparently posted by Flaherty’s pals at Vanderbilt, featuring a sampling of the Portland native’s college baseball highlights. Some great material here:

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.