HAMPTON — Lovejoy baseball standout Mark Flournoy is getting a chance to show his worth among the nation’s elite this weekend in the Under Armour All-America Preseason Tournament in Tuscon, Ariz.
The players selected to the Under Armour tournament are chosen either by a strong performance in a previous Baseball Factory event or by recommendation of a pro scout.
Flournoy, who was a part of Lovejoy’s Region 4-AAAA championship team last season, received second-team All-Southern Crescent honors as a catcher. He hit .325 with 33 RBI for the Wildcats.
The senior will be counted as one of the leaders on a Lovejoy team that will be looking for its third straight state playoff appearance this season.
Flournoy’s father, Mark Flournoy, Sr., said his son’s achievements are just reflections of a combination of his work ethic and his faith.
“He’s worked really hard to get where he is,” the father said. “He prays everytime, before he goes out there on that field. He just tries to get the most out of every moment he’s out there.”
The younger Flournoy spent his first two years as a safety and wide receiver on Lovejoy’s football team, but gave up football in favor of the baseball last season.
He said it’s because baseball is his first love, which makes his being chosen to play in Tucson all the more special.
“When I first found out, I felt real blessed and honored to represent where I come from and to play a sport that I love,” he said.
Flournoy said he’s probably the first in his family to take such a strong liking to baseball. He said others in his family played football or basketball. But Flournoy’s love for baseball has been noticeable to those closest to him since he was a child.
“It’s my No. 1 passion,” the younger Flournoy said. “I’ve been playing it since I was little, and I remember my grandpa telling me that if I was ever going to make a lot of money in life, I was going to do it with either my brain or by playing baseball.
As happy as Flournoy said he is to have been invited, he said he doesn’t plan on playing as if being glad to be there is all that matters.
“I plan on going out there and just being the best ball player I can, and maybe better my chances at making it further in baseball than I am right now,” he said.