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Notebook

Plymouth’s Joe Flynn making a striking return for Franklin Pierce baseball

Joe Flynn has a 3-2 record and a 3.10 ERA at Franklin Pierce.

Robin Harper/Franklin Pierce Athletics

Joe Flynn has a 3-2 record and a 3.10 ERA at Franklin Pierce.

Back from arm surgery, Flynn flexing his muscle

Joe Flynn is making up for lost time.

A senior pitcher at Franklin Pierce University, the Plymouth South graduate missed the majority of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

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The 6-foot-2, 220-pound righthander was back on the mound last season just nine months after undergoing surgery, working strictly as a reliever to keep his innings down while his arm strength returned.

Nearly two years after his surgery, Flynn is back in his familiar role as a starter for the Ravens (16-8). Although he is still regaining his strength and command of his pitches, his statistics indicate that Flynn is better than ever.

Flynn threw seven innings of one-run ball Sunday in an 8-3 Northeast-10 win over Pace to improve to 3-2 with a 3.10 earned run average.

His strikeout ratio is perhaps the biggest indicator of a healthy arm; he struck out nine batters in seven innings.

Relying on a fastball that ranges from 85 to 90 miles per hour and a nasty breaking ball, Flynn has racked up 39 strikeouts in 29 innings. His strikeout ratio per nine innings (12.3) places him among the national leaders in Division 2.

“The big thing for him is that his breaking ball is the best it’s ever been and he’s getting a lot of strikeouts on that pitch,” said Franklin Pierce coach Jayson King.

“It’s really a good swing-and-miss pitch that he can throw for strikes consistently.”

Flynn made his return in mid-March last season as the Ravens’ closer as Pierce made a run to the Division 2 College World Series. Flynn recorded five saves in 11 appearances, including the final three outs of the East Regional-clinching victory over Wilmington. Franklin Pierce won its first game of the series, but was eliminated with two consecutive losses.

That was the highlight of a somewhat inconsistent season: Flynn posted a 6.30 ERA with four wild pitches and three hit batters in 10 innings of work.

“It was tough, because I’d pitch an inning here and there, but I wasn’t fully healthy,” said Flynn, who blew out his elbow after six starts in his sophomore season and was granted a medical redshirt for that year.

“I knew we had a great team last year and I wanted to help out as much as I could to get us to the World Series.”

King said Flynn’s toughness and desire to compete was demonstrated by his quick return from surgery. He expects his fastball to top out at 90 to 92 miles per hour once his arm strength returns to where it was prior to the injury.

“What he did at the end of games last year was critical for us, and we probably wouldn’t have made it to the World Series without him,” said King. “This year he’s proven to be just as valuable.”

The success Flynn is enjoying this season makes up for the extensive effort he put into his rehabilitation.

“It was tough,” said Flynn, who was named a captain for this season. “I was rehabbing and you have your days when it hurts and you don’t want to throw. Some days it felt worse than it did when I hurt it. I was fortunate to have a lot of people supporting me through that period.

“I’m starting again, which is where I feel most comfortable. Now I’m healthy again and my arm feels great.”

Fellow cocaptain and Plymouth North grad Matt Walsh is a workhorse for the Ravens, with 138 consecutive starts. As a freshman, he started all 56 games behind the plate. Last season, the 5-foot-11, 225-pound Walsh split time between catcher (32 games) and designated hitter.

This season, in 20 starts behind the plate (and 24 overall), he is hitting .279 with five doubles, a triple, one home run, and 14 RBIs. He had a two-run double in the Ravens’ 8-3 win over Pace on Sunday. Walsh has hit safely in his last six games (8 for 20).

“Matt is the backbone of our defense,” said King, who expects Flynn and Walsh to be potential draft picks in June’s Major League Baseball draft. “Matt has improved so much defensively when it comes to receiving, blocking, and throwing. He’s made some great improvements to his game.”

Freshman Mike Lundin (Kingston) has made six appearances out of the bullpen for Franklin Pierce, earning one save in 8.1 innings of work. The righthander from Silver Lake High has a 3.24 ERA.

Corcoran helps Colgate
in NCAA hockey push

After playing in only 17 games as a sophomore, Brendan Corcoran of Milton has seen his playing time double this season for the men’s hockey team at Colgate. The Raiders (20-13-5), the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Division 1 Midwest Regional, will play Ferris State Friday at 4:30 in Cincinnati. Corcoran, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound defenseman, has a goal and five assists in 32 games. His lone goal — the game’s first — came in a 4-3 win against Clarkson.

Corcoran played one year at St. Sebastian’s School in Needham before joining the Bay State Breakers of the Eastern Junior Hockey League. He was a team captain and team MVP in his second season, when he scored 10 goals and 17 assists.

Freshman forward Tim Harrison (Duxbury) alternates between the third and fourth line as part of the checking unit for the Raiders, with five assists to his credit. The 6-foot-3 Harrison played two seasons at Duxbury High and two more at the Dexter School in Brookline. He was a sixth-round pick of the Calgary Flames (157th overall) in the 2013 NHL draft.

John Johnson can be reached at jjohnson49@comcast.net.
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