For years, Billy Flamion and his sister, Nicole, fought about who would earn the distinction of being the first member of their family to attend college. Despite being two years younger than his sister, Flamion never gave up on the idea.
Flamion caught a break when Nicole went to Modesto (Calif.) JC, which Flamion says doesn't count. Now the Central Catholic High (Modesto, Calif.) center fielder/pitcher is committed to Oregon and is set to win this round of the sibling rivalry. That is, if Flamion gets past the little trouble of the MLB Draft.
Flamion, who played on Team USA's 14U team in 2007, caught the attention of scouts last summer in the Area Code Games and the Aflac All-American Game with his bat speed and lefthanded power. He is ranked 45th in the Midseason Top 50 draft prospects and is regarded as one of the best high school bats.
"I'm excited to see how it turns out," Flamion said. "After the season we'll see what happens and deal with that."
In the meantime, Flamion is enjoying his final season as a true two-way player. He is Central Catholic's ace and can reach the upper 80s with his fastball, but said at Oregon he will be, at most, a reliever. Should he enter professional baseball, he will almost certainly give up pitching, as he profiles best as an outfielder.
He also may not be giving up his status as a two-sport star. Flamion caught 33 passes for 705 yards and seven touchdowns last fall. He plans on attempting to walk on to the Oregon football team, though that likely wouldn't happen until his sophomore year of college.
"Next year, I'm going to be 100 percent focused on baseball," Flamion said.
It will be the first time he has truly focused on a sport. While he could have quit football this year to protect himself against a potential injury or focus on baseball, he chose to play and says it helps keep him in shape.
Flamion is playing well in his senior year, hitting .345/.480/.672 with two home runs. On the mound, he is 2-1, 1.43 and is holding opponents to a .109 batting average. Flamion has started to play better recently after going 2-for-15 in his first five games. He's hit .418 in the 14 games since.
"Lately I've been hitting the ball really hard," Flamion said. "Usually I start off slow."
Flamion is hopeful his slow starts don't follow him to Oregon, where he has already set lofty goals. He fell in love with the new facilities in Eugene, Ore., especially PK Park. But more importantly, Flamion knows coach George Horton has built the Ducks for success.
"They've got a lot of good people going there," Flamion said. "I'm pretty excited about that.
"I plan on helping them win their first College World Series."