MSD varsity baseball edges over Naples High School in no-hitter to continue undefeated season

Pitcher Christian Rodriguez (10) warms up before the start of the game against Naples High School. Rodriguez threw 13 strikeouts and gave up no hits in the varsity baseball team’s 2-0 victory.

Reece Gary, Senior Sports Editor

With a record of 17-0, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School varsity baseball team attempted to maintain their undefeated record in a home game against Naples High School on Tuesday, March 11.

The MSD Eagles came off another successful week, beating Bishop Verot High School and Jupiter Community High School by scores of 4-0 and 5-1, respectively, just days before. Meanwhile, the Naples Golden Eagles were coming off a close 7-6 loss against West Broward High School and held a favorable 11-4 record.

At 6:30 p.m., the game began, and the away Golden Eagles stepped up to the plate. To prepare for a competitive Naples roster, MSD started pitching ace Christian Rodriguez (10) to start the game. Rodriguez showed his dominance from the game’s start, striking out the first three batters of the game and ending the first inning quickly..

On the offensive side of the first inning, MSD also remained scoreless. The Eagles’ only hit of the inning was earned by Rodriguez, showcasing his two-way skills as both pitcher and batter.

Back on defense, Rodriguez threw another three strikeouts, making him six for six on the mound thus far.

With the second inning repeating the events of the first, the Eagles tallied a single hit on offense yet scored no runs. Despite starting the inning with a single by catcher Niko Benestad (6), the Eagles could not find momentum on offense, leaving the game at 0-0.

A fast four-batter inning for the Naples offense allowed the Eagles to get another turn at the plate at the bottom of the third inning. In the first at-bat for the Eagles, center fielder Alex Rodriguez (13) was hit by a pitch, earning him first base. Despite the Golden Eagles’ pitcher striking out the next two batters, Rodriguez made his way to third base and sought to score.

With C. Rodriguez at-bat, a wild pitch gave A. Rodriguez the opportunity to steal home, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead. The inning ended with the Eagles tallying zero hits but still managing to score.

“We are pitching really well, playing great defense, and running the bases really well,” head coach Todd Fitz-Gerald said. “Our goal is one game at a time. We want to win the district championship to set us up for the playoffs. Ultimately, at the end of the day, we want to win a state championship. We’ll just keep grinding and see where it takes us.”

With both teams only seeing three batters on offense, the fourth inning went by quickly.

In the following inning, C. Rodriguez shut down the Golden Eagles, pitching three straight strikeouts for his fifth shut-out inning.

With the Eagles riding on the momentum of a possible no-hitter from C. Rodriguez, they sought to increase their one-run lead. Second baseman Alex Lazar (2) walked, allowing him to get on base. After Lazar stole second base, shortstop Devin Fitz-Gerald (3) singled to left field. The base hit brought Lazar in to score, giving the Eagles a 2-0 lead.

With two innings left in the game, the Eagles looked to maintain their short lead and no-hitter. C. Rodriguez threw three more strikeouts in the two innings, totaling his strikeout count to 13.

“Our plan moving forward as a team is to keep things hot,” catcher Ethan Askin (21) said. “The guys are doing their jobs, the pitchers are throwing strikes, and the hitters are hitting. That’s all that matters.”

As no teams scored in the remainder of the game, the Eagles walked away with a tight victory, and C. Rodriguez earned a complete no-hitter.

“I expect us to win states again, and get a three-peat,” Askin said. “If we win states for the third year in a row, I believe that would be a national record. So, we wanna make history.”

The Eagles seek to continue their undefeated season on Tuesday, April 18 at Park Vista Community High School at 6:30 p.m., and move forward on their path to a third consecutive national championship.