Hunter Fitz-Gerald celebrates with Colin Flynn after his game-winning home run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
(photo courtesy Laura Collins Photo’s)

By: Matt Rothman

With a regional title in sight, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas baseball team got off to a strong start defeating the Cypress Bay Lightning 5-3 to move on to the regional semifinals.

In what began as a 3-1 Cypress Bay lead in the sixth inning, Jonathon Roach of the Lightning looked to have hit a two-run home run to make it 5-1, but the MSD dugout noticed that Roach never touched first base. 

After the appeal throw to first base, the batter was called out ending the inning with both base runners failing to score. MSD went on to rally in the sixth with a game-winning three run home run from Colin Flynn. 

“I had a feeling I was going to come through,” Flynn said. “I always come through in the playoffs. I was confident in myself and it feels good. It was the best moment.”

After pitching in the district championship less than a week ago, Kevin Heinrich was back on the mound and was solid through the first five innings before giving up three runs in the sixth to earn the win.

After a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first after a couple of nice plays from shortstop Coby Mayo, the Eagles jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after three walks and an error. 

Cypress Bay had a base runner on in the third to lead off the inning, but Heinrich once again kept the Lightning off the board with Mayo making a few more nice plays at shortstop to end the third. 

Neither team had many base runners until the sixth with Heinrich facing the top of the order for a third time. Cypress Bay scored three runs to take their first lead of game. Moments later, Roach homered, but was called out after the appeal to first base.

Hunter Fitz-Gerald then brought the Eagles back within one in the bottom of the sixth with a line drive home run over the fight field fence in the bottom of the sixth. 

“It was a 3-1 count and he wasn’t throwing to many strikes, so I was just sitting on fastball,” said Hunter Fitz-Gerald. “He threw it in my location and I just capitalized on it.”

After Mayo walked and Gabe Cabrera reached on the third error of the game from third basemen Nico Boza, Flynn hit his game winning home run in the bottom of the sixth to make it 5-3. 

Luke Schiltz entered the game in the seventh looking for the final three outs, but the lightning would not go down quietly. Cypress Bay put two men on, but Schiltz got a ground ball to third and Hunter Fitz-Gerald stepped on third and threw across the diamond for the final out of the game. 

“It’s a big quality win,” said Head Coach Todd Fitz-Gerald. “Our guys never quit and we battled and found a way to get it done.”

Up next, the Eagles will await the winner of Flanagan and Coral Springs High School. That game was supposed to take place Wednesday night, but was moved to Thursday.

If Flanagan wins, the Eagles will have to play at Flanagan on Saturday, May 18. If Coral Springs wins, the game will be in Parkland at 4 p.m. 

MSD beat Coral Springs in the district final last week as well as earlier in the season. In the two games, they outscored the Colts 18-2. The Eagles also beat Flanagan earlier this season handing them one of their four losses this season. 

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Matt Rothman
Matt Rothman
Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is now attending the University of Florida as a graduate student.

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