This article was previously published and is being featured as one of many of our top stories for 2023.
By: Matt Rothman
This is handed out to the number-one-ranked team in the country. The Eagles won all 29 games and became the first public school in Florida to go undefeated. They started the season facing eight best teams in Broward County and won all three games, including an 11-1 win over J.P. Taravella in the final.
MSD then faced off against one of the country’s toughest schedules, consisting of 18 teams ranked in the Top 10 in their HSBN Power Rankings. MSD won all 19 regular season games before dominating in the postseason with a District and Regional Championship. They scored at least eight runs in their first five postseason games and completed the season by beating Spruce Creek and Plant High School to capture their third straight State Championship and fourth since 2016.
MSD outscored their opposition 248-33. The Eagles trailed only five times all year and never once after the third inning. Offensively, the Eagles hit more home runs (35) than runs allowed (33), led by Matt Ossenfort with 10. Rylan Lujo finished as the team’s leading hitter with a .415 batting average and had six home runs, while Devin Fitz-Gerald hit .410 and homered six times. All these players were selected to the All-Conference Team alongside Niko Benesatad and Florida Player of the Year Christian Rodriguez.
The University of Florida signee shined on the mound and at the plate. He hit over. 350 with six home runs and 28 RBIS while winning all 12 starts. The Eagles pitched to an ERA 0f 0.87 as a team and either shut out or allowed one run in 20 of their 29 games. Jayden Dubanewicz was also picked to the All-Conference Team as a pitcher after winning all 11 starts. Gavin Gargiulo and Luke Cherry pitched to an ERA under 1.00, while Ossenfort and Brayden McCluskey also recorded wins.
The Eagles had eight seniors from this year’s team graduate that are all signed to play college baseball. Devin, Alex, Lujo, and Benestad will also be looking to win their fourth straight State Championship during their senior year, while MSD already has seven players committed.
- 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.
- NewsFebruary 25, 20242 Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wrestlers Advance to State Championship
- NewsFebruary 22, 2024Marjory Stoneman Douglas Seals No-Hitter Win in Home-Opener
- NewsFebruary 22, 2024Marjory Stoneman Douglas Softball Begins Season With Win Under New Coach
- NewsFebruary 22, 2024Marjory Stoneman Douglas Marks Historic Day with 6 Athletes Signing College Commitments