2-Time Reigning State and National Champions Begin Season With Win in Tournament
James Smith, Jackson Abram, and Brayden McCluskey. {Sidney Berthiaume}

By: Matt Rothman

Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s baseball is back, and they have already won their first Championship this season in the BCAA Tier 1 Tournament. 

The Eagles, who have won back-to-back State and National Championships, faced off against the Panthers, featuring 2014 MSD graduate and former Assistant Coach Max Boling, in his first game with CSC. 

2-Time Reigning State and National Champions Marjory Stoneman Douglas Win BCAA Championship
Todd Fitz-Gerald and Max Boling. {Sidney Berthiaume}

This was the first game for former Panther Gavin Gargiulo, and the highly anticipated debut for the University of Vanderbilt commit Matt Ossenfort

“Coming to Douglas and playing for Coach Fitz has been one of the greatest decisions I have ever made,” Ossenfort said. “Getting to wear the same jersey as some of the greats that have come out of here like Rizzo, Luzardo, and Anthony is a great honor.”

After not scoring in the first, MSD took a 4-0 lead in the second, with Alex Rodriguez knocking in the first run of the season. Ossenfort then brought in two more while a third came in to score on an error before MSD added three more in the third. Niko Benestad drove in two with a double, and Alex Lazar also had an RBI to make it 7-0.

Jayden Dubanewicz earned the win on the mound after pitching four scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and struck out six, while Breylynn Courtney and James Smith recorded the final nine outs two preserve the shutout. 

“Great way to start the season,” said Head Coach Todd Fitz-Gerald. “I thought the pitching was outstanding, and we got some timely hits when we needed some timely hits and played great defense. If we can do that night and the night out, it’s going to be fun to watch this year.”

MSD then shut out West Broward High School 10-0 on Wednesday behind a terrific start from Christian Rodriguez. He picked up the win, pitching three shutout innings and striking out four. Brayden McCluskey and Luke Cherry pitched the final two innings for another shutout.

Dillon Moquin knocked in three RBIs, including a two-run double. Christian also played two runs while Ossenfort, Rylan Lujo, Devin Fitz-Gerald, and Jackson Abram drove in runs. 

2-Time Reigning State and National Champions Marjory Stoneman Douglas Win BCAA Championship
Matt Ossenfort. {Valeria Sandoval}

In MSD’s final game against J.P. Taravella, Ossenfort made his first start for the Eagles and hit a long home run in the first inning. MSD tacked on a run in the second and two more in the fourth before blowing it open. Alex Rodriguez and Devin Fitz-Gerald, who went on to win MVP, combined to drive in five runs. Cayden Freels, Lujo, and Gargiulo also brought in runs, while Gargiulo and Cherry pitched in relief of Ossenfort.

“It felt great to win the MVP, but it felt even better to be out there on the field with my brothers again,” said Devin. “It’s a special group that we have. We all play together and have great energy.”

MSD did not allow an earned run in the tournament and will get set to take on another State Champion in their next game against Doral Academy on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6:30 p.m. in Parkland.

The Firebirds are already 2-0 this year and have outscored their opponents 17-3. They went 25-4-1 last year and defeated Pace High School in the State Final.

2-Time Reigning State and National Champions Marjory Stoneman Douglas Win BCAA Championship
Devin Fitz-Gerald. {Sidney Berthiaume}

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Author Profile

Matt Rothman
Matt Rothman
Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor’s degree in journalism and then graduated from the University of Florida as a graduate student. He also works for the Mohave Valley Daily News in Bullhead City, Arizona covering high school sports.
Michael Bander