Ward Melville is no stranger to walk-off victories this postseason. After all, each of its three home wins this postseason have come in that fashion. But it's not every day you line up to hug the opposing pitcher afterward.
The No. 2 Patriots defeated No. 1 Connetquot, 4-3, Wednesday on Dominic Lamonica's walk-off home run in Game 2 of a best-of-three Suffolk Class AA final. Ward Melville forced a Game 3 at Connetquot Thursday at 4 p.m.
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"As soon as I hit that ball I knew it was gone," Lamonica said of his shot to leftfield. "I put everything I had into that swing."
Afterward, fans were reminded that what just ended was in fact just a game. Ward Melville's players lined up at home plate for a postgame handshake, in which every Patriots player hugged John Hengge, Connetquot's pitcher, whose father, Walter Hengge, passed away Saturday. There had been a moment of silence for him before the game.
"I know baseball is important and winning is important," Connetquot coach Bob Ambrosini said, "but I think what he did today was more important for him than anything else."
Ward Melville's Joe Flynn is no stranger to setting school records. But it's not every day you tie the record of a player Mets fans are anxiously awaiting his call-up to the majors.
Flynn tied Steven Matz -- currently pitching for Triple-A Las Vegas with a 1.98 ERA in 681/3 innings -- for the most strikeouts in a single game (14) in school history, according to coach Lou Petrucci.
And it couldn't have come in a bigger moment as the Patriots (22-3) have their hopes of continuing the season on his right arm.
"I got out there and I had a lot of emotions and adrenaline running through me," Flynn said, "but I was able to go out there and settle myself and get the job done."
Troy Gehrig Davern opened the scoring with a solo home run in the second for Ward Melville. Flynn added another home run in the third.
Connetquot (22-4) rallied with back-to-back home runs by Kyle Bannon and Marc Wangenstein in the seventh.
"We're not walking off tomorrow," Petrucci said, "but hopefully we are walking on."