Ward Melville's Joe Flynn used to jog four miles to school to get in his roadwork. He would throw on his backpack and make the trek to the high school as part of his never-ending training regimen.
At night, he would travel a half-hour to the Performance Factory and perfect his swing with his personal hitting instructor, Joe Francisco.
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"This is a young man who never stopped training," Ward Melville coach Lou Petrucci said. "He is the perfect role model and an inspiration to our younger student-athletes. He was the leader in our varsity program and the guy everyone looked up to."
And now he's the winner of the 2015 Paul Gibson Award, given to Suffolk's top hurler.
The 6-2, 200-pound Flynn, who had one of the finest careers in Suffolk baseball history, struck out 73 in 521/3 innings and had an ERA of 1.07. He allowed 32 hits and walked 21.
The righthander, whose fastball has been clocked at 90 mph, blew away the competition this season with a 6-0 record and led Ward Melville to the Suffolk League I title and into the Class AA finals.
Flynn, who will play at Princeton in the fall, finished his four-year career with a 15-5 record and 183 strikeouts in 1641/3 innings. He was the key cog in the Patriots' 74-24 mark during that span, including four playoff appearances and one Long Island Class AA title.
"This is an unforgettable kid," Petrucci said. "He was feared when he stepped up to hit and he was unhittable when he stepped on the mound. He was the complete player."
Flynn played in 19 playoff games and hit five homers in the playoffs as a sophomore to lead the Patriots to the Long Island Class AA title. Said Petrucci, "Not one of Joe's career 16 home runs was a cheap one. They were all no-doubters."
He added, "He saved his best for last every season. He could be the power pitcher or the power hitter. He struck out 14 against Connetquot in the playoffs, and that's one of the best-hitting teams I've seen in my nine years as a head coach."
Flynn hit .509 with 21 RBIs, 30 runs and 31 walks in 2015. He was hit by 11 pitches.
"I have kids that write me thank you cards for a great year in school," Petrucci said. "And when Logan Doran was in the sixth grade and Joe Flynn was a freshman, Doran signed his card like this, 'Thank you Mr. Petrucci from Logan Doran, the next Joe Flynn.' That's the kind of impact Flynn has had on our baseball program and community. Everyone should have a Mighty Joe Flynn."