Joe Flynn's home run lifts Ward Melville over Longwood, 1-0
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Joe Flynn is locked in.
The sophomore third baseman drilled a first-pitch fastball well over the left-centerfield fence in the bottom of the fifth inning Monday -- his third home run in as many games -- to give Ward Melville a 1-0 win over Longwood in a Suffolk Class AA winners'-bracket semifinal.
The 6-3, 200-pound Flynn's 410-foot blast ricocheted off the retaining fence surrounding the school's lacrosse field and brought thunderous applause from the home fans.
"He tried to beat me with a first-pitch fastball,'' said Flynn, who has five homers and 17 RBIs this season. "I can't even describe the feeling when it left the bat. I knew I got it good.''
Flynn's solo homer keyed a 10-2 win over Commack in the season finale to clinch first place in League I and the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. His solo homer ignited the Patriots in a 4-1 win over Kings Park in the first round of the tournament.
The win moved Ward Melville (17-5), which hasn't lost at home this season, into the winners'-bracket final of the double-elimination tournament for the first time in school history. Ward Melville will host Half Hollow Hills West (18-5) Wednesday. Hills West beat Commack, 6-4, in eight innings.
The Patriots struggled against Longwood starter Kris Killackey, who was brilliant. The senior righthander allowed four hits, walked none and struck out five.
"We had no answer for him the last time during the regular season, either,'' Ward Melville coach Lou Petrucci said. "He shut us out earlier in the year. It was the first run we scored on him in 15 innings. I'm glad Flynn is locked in and got his pitch.''
For the second time in his four-year varsity career, staff ace Anthony Kay was asked to pitch in relief. Petrucci summoned the UConn-bound Kay for the seventh inning after starter Chris Cepeda scattered seven hits, walked one and struck out two.
"I thought Chris was tired and he did a great job throwing six shutout innings,'' Petrucci said. "Why waste such a good effort?''
Kay struck out the first two hitters before issuing a full-count walk -- and then ended the game with a pickoff, adding a save to his 6-1 record.
Longwood had its opportunities against Cepeda, who improved to 6-1.
The Lions bunched three singles in the third -- one of the hits was a batted ball that hit a baserunner -- but left runners at first and second when Aaron Floyd lined out to end the inning.
With none out in the fourth, Cam Orologio lined a double to left-center and David Harris walked, but Cepeda retired the next three batters.