Cleveland High senior Ryan Flores was named the 2016 recipient of the Sam Narron Baseball Award.
Flores is the first student from Cleveland High to be selected for the Sam Narron Baseball Award, according to head baseball coach Jamie Lee.
The Sam Narron Baseball Award recognizes a Johnston County High School senior baseball player who demonstrates love for the game through determination, dedication and sacrifice. Members of the Johnston County native’s family present the award annually. Flores is the 21st recipient of the award.
The award’s namesake played and coached professional baseball for the Saint Louis Cardinals and Pittsburg Pirates. He was part of two World Series Championship teams in a career that span from 1936 to 1964.
Presenting the award to Flores was Narron’s son, Rooster Narron, who praised him for his accomplishments while attending Cleveland High.
“It was very humbling to be recognized for this award,” said Flores. “I put in a lot of hard work and to see it come to fruition really makes me happy.”
Flores played baseball for all four years of his high school career at Cleveland. He was on the junior varsity team for two years before joining the varsity team.
As a baseball player at Cleveland Flores led the team to a 21-3 record to be a top seed in the state playoffs. Flores had a .410 batting average and 35 career stolen bases. Flores was selected as the 2016 TRL Pitcher of the Year.
Coach Lee spoke on Flores’ competitive nature, dedication, and determination to excel at baseball. Lee said Flores has overcome several challenges including being told he was too small to play baseball by several people in his life.
“I see players in the Major Leagues who are the same size as me, so if they can do it so can I,” said Flores. “I’ve got to do everything I can to max out my potential.”
In addition to sharing Sam Narron’s desire to play professional baseball, Flores also shares a love of the game.
In 2015, Flores traveled to the Czech Republic to help teach kids play baseball and gain an understanding of their way of life and difficulties. Stepping out of his comfort zone, he spread the love of baseball and made many lasting relationships in the Czech Republic.
In addition to the award Flores received a $500 scholarship, which is given by the Narron family. Flores, the son of Melissa and Dan Flores, plans to major in business at Lander University in South Carolina in the fall.