MSD varsity baseball team wins National High School Invitation Tournament In North Carolina


Photo courtesy of Christian Rodriguez

Stoneman Douglas varsity baseball team competes and wins the National USA Baseball tournament against high schools from all around the nation.

On Wednesday, April 6, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School varsity baseball team headed up to Cary, North Carolina, home of USA National training complex, for the National High School Invitation tournament. The tournament was invite-only and held 16 teams to participate in a single-elimination tournament. The Eagles had a set of four games for the tournament against teams from across the country, which they outperformed collectively with an added up score of 43-4.

First bracket: D.H. Conley High School

On Wednesday, April 6, the MSD varsity baseball team kicked off their National High School Invitation tournament at D.H. Conely High School.

The Eagles played strong in their first game against the D.H. Conley Vikings. The top of the first inning started out with right fielder Roman Anthony (22) grounding out his first hit to the shortstop, as he ran towards first base. The first baseman caught the ball and Anthony unfortunately got out.

The Eagles were ready to pull ahead in the game as right fielder Jake Clemente (24) stepped up to the plate and grounded a ball advancing him to second base. Catcher Santiago Ordonez (12) then struck the ball out to left field, making a double play. Center fielder Alex Rodriguez (13) stepped in to run for Ordonez and he ran out to third base as first baseman Christain Rodriquez (10) hit a line drive towards the left field, leaving Clemente to score a run. During this inning A. Rodriguez and C. Rodriguez also scored runs for the Eagles.

At the bottom of the first inning, pitcher Chris Arroyo (23) stepped up to the pitcher’s mound. Starting out the inning strong, second baseman Cameron Harris (6) grabbed the ground ball and threw it to shortstop Alez Lazar (2), getting the first out of the inning. Ending the inning quickly, a double play was in motion. The ball was grounded to Lazar who threw it to Harris, who then threw it to first baseman Nicholas Benestad (16), gaining two outs.

The second inning went by fast for the Eagles. Making a quick bottom of the second inning, Arroyo got a strikeout. Right after, the ball got hit out to Rodriguez, and he caught the ball, getting their second out. Next, a ball grounded out to Harris who threw it to Benestad who got the third out of the inning.

The top of the third inning went by and outfielder Dillion Moquin (15) scored a run for the Eagles, leaving them four runs ahead of the Vikings.

The bottom of the third inning went by fast as Arroyo was back up to the pitcher’s mound. Arroyo started and ended the bottom of the third inning by throwing three back-to-back strikeouts.

Using their momentum and being ahead of the Vikings, the Eagles were ready to gain more runs than they hit in the top of the fourth inning. Clemente flew out a ball to center field and unfortunately got out. Ordonez and C. Rodriguez both got hit by a pitch, resulting in a walk. A. A. Rodriguez substituted in for Ordonez and then he stole second as C. Rodriguez hits and walks.

Arroyo was next up to hit as he hit out to right field. During this play, A. Rodriguez scored a run for the Eagles. Benestad then hit out, C. Rodriguez ran and scored a run, while Harris ran to third and Arroyo ran to second. Outfielder Grant Mcdonald hit a ball and fouled, and, unfortunately, it was caught.

Infielder Ryland Lujo (14) was next up to the plate and Harris and Moquin had time to score a run while Lujo hit the ball up to right field. Anthony then made three balls and walked. Bases were loaded as Clemente made a double play, and Benestad, Lujo and Anthony all scored runs for the Eagles.

The Eagles advanced greatly as Clemente followed them with yet another run when Ordonez hit a single out into left field.

The crowd went crazy as the Eagles made six runs in a matter of minutes. A. Rodriguez then hit a single and this gave C. Rodriguez a chance to run to second. Harris then flew a ball out to right field and it was caught, ending the top of the fourth inning.

It seemed that the Eagles were succeeding greatly and were making scores left and right. They used all of their motivation and made sure that the Vikings wouldn’t score the whole game.

The bottom of the fourth inning immediately started out with an out made by Harris picking up a ground ball and throwing it to first baseman Cayden Freels (18). Following this play, another out was made and Arroyo struck out the hitter. A Conley player then hit the ball out and ran to first base. Giving the Vikings no time to make any play, Freels got out the last player of the bottom of the fourth inning, ending the inning.

Starting out the top of the fifth inning, pitcher Eduardo Fuentes (21) starts out the inning hitting and striking out. Freels then steps up to the plate and hits a ground ball to second base. Then Lazar followed with a walk. Infielder Maddox Raley (3) followed right after and hit a single, leaving Freels to score a run.

Anthony was up to hit as he hit a ground ball and gave Lazar a chance to score a run. Moquin was up and hit a ball to left field, who threw it to the pitcher and got out. Then, Ordonez got out when he hit a ball to shortstop, who threw it to second base for an out. This ended the top of the fifth inning.

Starting out the bottom of the fifth inning, Fuentes stepped up to the pitchers mound and hit the Conley hitter. Conely hitter flew a ball out to A. Rodriguez caught it, getting them out. The Conley hitter grounded the ball into a double play and shortstop Lazar threw the ball to Harriss to throw it to Freels, they got two outs and this ended the game.

The Eagles ended the first game of their tournament in an amazing mercy rule with a score of 15-0.

Second Bracket: Yucaipa High School

On Thursday, April 7, the Eagles were prepared to use their momentum from mercy ruling D.H Conley High School in their first game. They played against Yucaipa High School.

They started out the top of the first inning with no runs. At the bottom of the first inning, C. Rodriguez stepped up to the pitcher’s mound. He immediately pitched a strikeout. Then a ground ball was hit out into left field for Mcdonald to grab the ball; however, the Thunderbird hitter landed on first base.

The Thunderbirds scored their first and only point of the game. Anthony quickly grabbed the ball and got the second out for the Eagles. Next, ending the inning, Lujo picked up a ground ball and threw it to Benestad getting their third out.

During the second inning, neither team gained a point, however, C. Rodriquez struck three players out back to back. Neither team got a run in the third inning either. Repeatedly, C. Rodriguez pitched again and quickly struck out two players looking, and Benestad got out the last player at first base.

Starting out the top of the fourth inning, C. Rodriguez made a single, and Harris did the same thing right after him. Moquin stepped in and ran for C. Rodriguez ran to second base after Harris hit a single. Arroyo stepped up to the plate and got out at first base. McDonald hit a single and Harris scored a run. Lujo then grounds out a ball into the field and McDonald gets out when he runs to second base. This ended the top of the fourth inning.

The bottom of the fourth inning starts and ends quickly with C. Rodriquez pitching. The ball was flown out to center field, and Anthony caught it, gaining the first out. For the next out, C. Rodriguez struck the hitter out looking. For the last out, Clemente caught a fly ball and ends the inning.

The Eagles thrived in the fifth inning. Anthony, Clemente, Harris, Arroyo, Herzberg, Mcdonald, and Lujo, all scored runs. This was an amazing accomplishment and led to their mercy rule against Yucaipa High School. At the bottom of the fifth inning, C. Rodriguez quickly got three outs back to back.

In the top of the sixth inning, Moquin, Harris, and Arroyo all hit singles back to back. When Arroyo hit for a single, Moquin had time to score a run. Next, Benestad struck out swinging. Then McDonald was up to bat and he hit a double out to right field, giving Harris and Arroyo time to score runs. Anthony then hit a fly ball which gets caught, and Clemente strikes out swinging right after.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Eagles quickly gained three outs and mercy ruled against the Vikings. This game ended with a score of 12-1 and the Eagles take yet again another victory and advance in the tournament.

Third Bracket: Orange Lutheran High School

On Friday, April 8, the Eagles were ready to dominate in their game against the Orange Lutheran High School Lancers. In their two previous games they triumphed against their competition, ruling both games with large differences in the scores.

The first inning had no action for both teams, so the Eagles were getting ready to make plays throughout the second inning. At the top of the second inning, Clemente stood up to the pitcher’s mound and the Eagles got three outs in a row.

In the bottom of the second inning, Arroyo scored the Eagles’ first run of the game after advancing through the bases from singles and groundouts.

The third inning exhibited strong performance from the Eagles. In the top of the inning, Clemente and the Eagles’ defense prevented the Lancers from making any significant progress. During the bottom of the inning, the Eagles’ offense overwhelmed the Lancers, as they were able to rack up 10 points from a series of runs batted in let up by the Lancers’ pitcher.

With the score at 11-0, the Eagles had almost certainly secured the victory for themselves, as the score was stagnant through the rest of the game. By the top of the fifth inning, their triumph was secured, and they were set to play in the championship bracket of the tournament against St. John’s Country Day High School.

Championship: St. John’s Country Day High School

On Saturday, April 9, the Eagles headed into the tournament’s championship match against St. John’s Country Day Spartans. As the two Florida teams were set to face each other in the finals, the Eagle’s utilized their experience from their marginal wins the previous days to prepare themselves for their hardest competition of the tournament.

The top of the first inning, the Eagles were on the defensive side of the field. To start, pitcher Jacob Gomberg (20) stepped up to the pitcher’s mound and forced a fly ball to Clemente and got the Eagles their first out of the game. Immediately following the first out, Gomberg swiftly struck out the second Spartan batter, but he struggled to get the third out of the inning after allowing the Spartans to advance around the bases to third. Ultimately, the Eagles’ defense remained sturdy against the opposition’s offense, as the Spartan’s batter grounded out to C. Rodriguez for the third out of the inning.

The Eagles made significant progress in the bottom of the first inning, as Clemente, A. Rodriguez, and C. Rodriguez were able to score, setting the score as 3-0. The Eagles’ offense overwhelmed the Spartan’s pitcher, as he allowed the Eagles to fill the bases through singles. However, the Spartan’s managed to get two on from the Eagles, as Harris and Arroyo were caught trying to steal bases.

The second inning went by quickly for both teams, as each teams’ defense reached three outs within a short amount of time. However, in the top of the third inning the Spartans shelled out three runs against Gomberg’s pitching. These runs resulted from pitching and catching errors.

With a score of 3-2 the Eagles gained newfound motivation entering the bottom of the third. With the bases loaded, C. Rodriguez was able to score on a sacrifice fly to right field by Lujo. This advancement to tie up the game with a score of 3-3 would be the only successful attempt by the Eagles for the rest of the inning.

The fourth was similar to the second, as both teams were able to force three outs with minimum delay. No runs were scored in the entire fourth inning by either team and errors came in small amounts.

The top of the fifth was especially fast paced for the Eagles, as the Spartans received three consecutive outs from players at bat with pitcher Brandon White (25) playing as a substitute for Gomberg. Moving into the bottom of the fifth inning, Arroyo managed to sneak in a run for the Eagles due to an initial error by the Spartan’s shortstop, making the score 5-3, Eagles.

The sixth and top of the seventh inning led to no movements in the score, as Arroyo finished the game as pitcher. The final score of the game was 5-3, and the Eagles were left with yet another victory to their disproportionate 17-2 record.

“Yeah sure. Winning the tournament was a surreal experience and just getting inviting was an honor to play against the top highschool teams in the country. Playing in North Carolina and winning the national tournament with my teammates was a memorable moment that I will never forget,” pitcher Brandon White said.

Coming back from yet another triumphant feat, the Eagles are motivated to take the title of State Champions once again with only seven non-district games left in the season. Their next game will take place on home turf at Anthony Rizzo Field against ArchBishop McCarthy High School on Wednesday, April 13.