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Joe Flynn of Ward Melville puts fear into opposing pitchers

Ward Melville's Joe Flynn takes a swing during

Ward Melville's Joe Flynn takes a swing during a game against Commack on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

As Joe Flynn walked to the batter's box last week, the chant of "Flynn! Flynn! Flynn!" in the Ward Melville dugout rose in intensity.

While his teammates turned up the volume, Suffolk's most feared hitter found a comfortable place in the box.

He walked on four pitches -- again. It was the 23rd free pass of his senior season.

Understandably, no one wants to pitch to Flynn. His home runs are epic. They are bombs that light up social media. His singles and doubles are usually smoked through the infield or into the outfield gaps.

"Patchogue-Medford chose to intentionally walk him four times in a game, including the final at-bat when they were down five runs in the sixth inning with two outs," Ward Melville coach Lou Petrucci said. "He has earned the respect of opposing coaches who choose not to let him beat them. They know if the pitcher leaves a pitch out over the plate he's going to drill it somewhere into the outfield or over the fence."

Flynn, who bats righthanded, has been walked a school-record 57 times in his career. Eleven of the 23 this season were intentional. He has been on base 54 times in 79 plate appearances for an on-base percentage is .684.

Flynn's four home runs this season have been dubbed "nukes" for their flight and distance. His shot over the administration building at Patchogue-Medford won't be forgotten.

"It was crushed," Patriots assistant coach Ron Muscarella said. "It was well over 400 feet. He hit one at our field that cleared the 20-foot fence on the football field, some 440 feet away."

But while many choose to compare Flynn's talents to former professional players such as East Hampton's Ross Gload and Connetquot's Dominic Ambrosini, you have to go beyond the surface when looking at Flynn's numbers.

Gload hit a Long Island-record 21 home runs in 1994 and Ambrosini hit 19 in 1999. Coaches choose to pitch around Flynn so often that his numbers suffer.

"I am speculating here but I can only imagine how many more homers he'd have if they pitched to him," Petrucci said.

Flynn, who is hitting .465 with 18 RBIs and 26 runs scored, points to patience and maturity as the key to success.

"I've learned to be patient and not swing at bad pitches when they're pitching around me," Flynn said. "I work with Joe Francisco at the Performance Factory and we don't just swing it -- we talk about the mental part of the game and how to be a great hitter."

Flynn, a third baseman/pitcher. is also a champ in the classroom. He scored a 33 on the ACT and will attend Princeton.

"None of the stats matter," Flynn said. "Winning the county title is all that counts."


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