There are daily distractions. There are the constant phone calls from the pro scouts. There are the UConn coaches checking in on one of their top recruits. Through it all, lefthander Anthony Kay has remained focused on one thing: winning a county championship for Ward Melville.
Kay continued his mastery Wednesday, pitching a three-hitter and striking out seven in a 4-2 win over Half Hollow Hills West in the final of the winners' bracket of the Suffolk Class AA playoffs.
The senior improved to 6-1 and lowered his ERA to 0.86 as he led Ward Melville to its first county baseball final in school history. Kay's performance and a two-run home run by third baseman Joe Flynn keyed the victory.
"Winning the county championship is my top priority,'' said Kay, who earned the Gibson Award as Suffolk's top pitcher in 2012. "The phone rings all night, and it's exciting that the future holds so many possibilities. But I want to be a part of Ward Melville's first county championship team more than anything -- that's the focus.''
Flynn, a sophomore sensation, homered for the fourth game in a row, including three in the playoffs. Flynn launched his sixth home run of the season, connecting off Aaron Glickstein in the second inning for a 2-0 lead. After Kay struck out the side in the top of the second, a leadoff walk to Kyle Pedroli preceded Flynn's go-ahead homer.
"He's a sophomore captain for a reason,'' Patriots coach Lou Petrucci said. "He got off to a slow start for Joe Flynn, but that was by Joe Flynn standards. He's been on fire lately.''
Flynn has hit at a .600 clip during the past 10 games, going 15-for-25.
Hills West (18-6) cut the deficit in half when Luke Stampfl (cq) reached on an error and scored on Tom DiGiorgi's groundout in the fourth. Ward Melville (18-5) responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
Ryan Shields singled before Phil Carballiera and Chris Peterson were hit by pitches to load the bases with no outs. Freshman Nick Vitale walked to force in Shields, and Carballiera scored on Chris Cepeda's sacrifice fly to make it 4-1.
On Tuesday, Hills West will play the winner of Saturday's Connetquot-Longwood elimination game in the final of the loser's bracket.
"The waiting is going to be hard,'' Kay said. "I want to play right away. We're going to rewrite the history books.''
The long wait will give Kay enough rest to be available for the final.
"This win over Hills West was huge,'' Petrucci said. ''We need to stay focused as we wait for an opponent.''