By: Matt Rothman
The country’s most dominating high school team finished the season in style.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s baseball team won their third straight State Championship on Wednesday in Fort Myers.
The Eagles became the first team ever in South Florida to go undefeated. They are also the first public school in Broward County history to win three straight State Championships and have not lost in their last 51 games. Over the past three years, they have a record 87-5.
For Head Coach Todd Fitz-Gerald, it was his fifth State Championship, with four from MSD.
“I couldn’t be happier for the players and coaches, Fitz-Gerald said. “Without them I am nothing. They kept there eyes on the prize and grinded until the end .”
Coming into the postseason with a 22-0 record, MSD won two games in the District Tournament, with Fitz-Gerald recording his 500th win in the Championship Game. They then went on to win three straight in Regionals and continued to shine in States, beating Spruce Creek 5-1 in the State Semifinals.
Christian Rodriguez, named Broward County Player of the Year, won in his final high school start to finish the season 13-0.
“It’s really bittersweet,” Rodriguez said. “It was such a good way for my last outing to go, and I couldn’t ask for a better night to do it on.”
Matt Ossenfort knocked in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the third and had a two-run double in their three-run fifth inning to break their game open. Niko Benestad and Rylan Lujo also knocked in runs for the Eagles.
In the final against Plant, Jayden Dubanewicz got the ball and pitched a five-inning complete game shutout. He allowed only two hits and struck out four in the team’s 10-0 win.
The Eagles scored three runs in the first inning after Rodriguez plated on with a single and Ossenfort knocked in two with a double. He then had a second RBI double in the fourth before Bennett Gary, in only his sixth game of the season, recorded a three-run double to make it 8-0. Reese Burton ended the game with a two-run single after four Eagles came off the bench to pinch-hit in the fifth inning.
Despite having nine seniors going off to play college baseball next year, the Eagles will still return several starters. At the same time, Alex Rodriguez, Benestad, Lujo, and Devin all look to complete their high school careers with four State Championships.
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- 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.
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