January 6th, 2012

Elementary Excellence: Louisville Sting

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer


Elementary Excellence: Louisville Sting
photo from Aaron Flaker

 STING shares service with community

The following feature is a part of a weekly series called "Elementary Excellence" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic elementary schools and its athletic programs, teams, traditions and excellence in all aspects of sports. Do you want your school to be featured? Send us your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

With a love for sports, St. Gabriel parishioner and former Western Kentucky baseball player Aaron Flaker created a new group for young students in 2009.

“We created Sting to try to keep a group of St. Gabriel kids together playing baseball,” said Flaker. “There are lots of great families within that parish, and the original concept was to keep those kids within Catholic sports together.”

So, he took the ball and went for a home run to allow local boys from all over the area to join this new local AAU baseball team.

In its first year, the team, all Catholic students, traveled to tournaments and had an 18-4 record.

“St. Gabriel was the basis for knowing all of these people,” said Flaker. “In the past couple years though, we have grown and expanded our numbers.”

Last season, STING’s team went 22-8. With more kids interested in playing AAU each year, Flaker said that he saw a need to create new teams and expand age groups. Yet, he still maintains a large group of original players with 18 of his 24 boys in his nine-year-old age group at Catholic schools.

 “We have two nine year old teams now, a thirteen year old team, and a five and six year old developmental team. This year we’ve had a lot of interest. Many of our kids live in the same area with almost everyone from Bullitt County, Fern Creek, Jeffersontown and Mount Washington,” said Flaker.

Sting competes against local AAU competition such as: Louisville Titans, Jeffersontown Elite, East Louisville Sports and teams around the region. With victory in mind, the Louisville STING, wearing black and yellow to standout, also keeps in mind priorities to help others in the area.

“We think service is a big part of who we are,” said Flaker. “We are more than just a baseball team, and my goal is to be the ‘model baseball team of the city.’"

Just recently, STING went to spend time at Fern Creek Highview United Ministries to serve the elderly.

“We thought it would be good to do something for the community. So, we took 15-20 kids and asked them to bring a Christmas book to read there. It was our first official community service project, but it’s a mission of ours to help in the area.”

As STING continues to grow and expand in numbersand recognize the importance of service projects and goals for he future, Flaker says he is also focused on helping students develop life lessons.

Said Flaker: “We want to make sure we are doing the right things, and we’re not just worried about winning baseball games. We want to be competitive, but it is our duty as a coaching staff to develop the kids on and off the field with good character. That’s something they will carry with them the rest of their lives.”

 

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