On March 31, 2012, emotions ran high for Franklin Pierce junior
pitcher Joe Flynn as he took the mound for a baseball match up
against UMass-Lowell. This wasn’t a typical game for Flynn;
it was a chance for him to honor his friend and former teammate
Adam Keenan, who tragically passed away due to Arrhythmogenic Right
Ventricular Cardiomyopathy last summer.
Keenan was a freshman member of the Ravens 2010 NCAA East
Region champion club where he and Flynn first met.
“We only knew each other for a few months, but became very
close and bonded really quick,” said Flynn. “He was one
of my closer friends here.”
However, after a short year at Franklin Pierce, Keenan decided
to transfer to UMass-Lowell to continue his collegiate baseball
career. Even though Keenan transferred to a different college, he
and Flynn continued to stay close.
“We still talked a lot and he seemed to really like
playing for Lowell,” said Flynn.
Tragically, Keenan’s life and baseball career were cut
short when he passed away in June of 2011 while practicing with his
summer league team the Seacoast Mavericks. Both the Franklin Pierce
and UMass-Lowell campuses were devastated to hear the news of
Keenan’s all-too-sudden death.
The schools took time to mourn the passing of Adam and then set
out finding a way to honor his life and the sport he loved. After
several discussions it was decided that the young man’s life
would be honored every year when both schools played each other in
their three-game series, with the winner being awarded the Adam
Playing Lowell is a huge series every season, but this
year’s three games took on added meaning with the chance to
honor Adam’s memory with some exciting baseball. Flynn knew
this and focused in even more intently, knowing that he would get a
chance to pitch in the series.
“On the bus ride over to the stadium, I just listened to
music and just thought about how bad I wanted to win this game for
Adam and his family,” said Flynn. “I felt that
would be the best way to honor Adam because he loved playing
baseball and worked hard at being a great player.”
If that wasn’t enough, Flynn knew UMass-Lowell wanted to
win just as much and that sent his emotions to another level.
“I knew it was going to be a good game,” Flynn
said. “Just looking at his picture on the jumbo screen was
really tough. It affected everyone in that stadium and I know each
player on the field that day took to the diamond with an extra
With his friend’s memory running through his mind the
entire afternoon, Flynn took the mound and turned in one of his
finest collegiate performances by pitching a complete-game shutout
to lead the Ravens to a 2-0 triumph over the River Hawks. He threw
just 96 pitches over nine innings, while scattering just three hits
with seven strikeouts and only one walk.
“I just tried to keep everything simple that day,”
Flynn said. “Your mind can go in a hundred different
directions, but I just focused on the next pitch and knew my
teammates would be there to help me out.”
The game, though, did not go without its tense moments and was
scoreless until the eighth inning when freshman third baseman R.J.
Going led off with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt,
went to third on a groundout and scored on an RBI single through
the left side of the infield by Dan Kemp. Kemp would score later in
the frame to give the Ravens an insurance run in the tightly
Franklin Pierce notched a 9-3 win over Lowell in the second
game of the series to claim the Cup, which capped a satisfying
weekend for the Ravens.
“It was an emotional series for everyone, especially his
high school and collegiate teams,” said Flynn. “I was
extremely excited to win the series and claim the Cup, but more
importantly both teams battled the entire weekend and it was a
great way to honor Adam’s memory.”