Jumping on outfielder Reese Burton (21), the MSD varsity baseball team celebrates their third state victory in a row. The FHSAA State Championships were held at Fort Meyes Hammond Stadium.
Jumping on outfielder Reese Burton (21), the MSD varsity baseball team celebrates their third state victory in a row. The FHSAA State Championships were held at Fort Meyes Hammond Stadium.
Photo courtesy of Valeria Sandoval

MSD men’s varsity baseball team secures third consecutive state championship win

Coming in with an undefeated record of 27-0, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School varsity baseball team entered the 2023 FHSAA baseball state championship in May 2023. The 2022-2023 season winning every game, the team remained untouched all the way from the beginning to the end of the season.

When arriving at Fort Myers for the state championship, the team prepared to play two last games and then take home the state winning trophy. In the first two games, they won with scores of 5-1 and 10-0. They played against Hagerty High School and Palm Beach Gardens High School. Being the final game, the Eagles 10-0 win crowned the Eagles state champions once again.

In the 2021-2022 spring season, the Eagles had ended the year 30-2. The team won the title of state champions for the second year in a row after winning states with a score of 10-0 in May 2021. These two back to back wins were history in the making. The team was only just getting started.

In the 2022-2023 season, the Eagles had done something that no other high school baseball team has ever achieved. Winning for their third consecutive year has become a historic win, because not only did the team win three times, but they won three times back to back.

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Along with all this talk of history being made, comes with the question of next season. Will they be able to do it again? Is there a possible fourth win in the making? Will these boys be able to call themselves state champions for a fourth year? Only time will tell.

“A fourth win is no doubt a possible outcome next season,” outfielder Bennett Gary (16) said. “We are all very hard workers on the team and everybody here truly wants it.”

The Eagles train day in and day out; they even train heavily in their off season. During the season, the team trains everyday after school for several hours a day. They condition and weight train. Although they may already have the title of state champions, that doesn’t keep them from continuing to work harder towards reaching more.

“Our practice is very important,” shortstop Devin Fitz-Gerald (3) said. “The way we practice and the energy we have affects how we play.”

Not only is it the players that make this team who they are but it’s also the coach. Coach Todd Fitz-Gerald has been coaching MSD baseball for 13 years now and has built this program into what it is today. T. Fitz-Gerald holds a high standard for his players on and off the field.

“On the field I expect hard work and for them to do the right things, off the field they should be good students and focus on their academics,” T. Fitz-Gerald said. “If they can’t do those things, they can’t play in our program.”

The key component to winning states for this team is being a family. This team has built an incredible bond between each other on and off the field. They are able to be there for one another when it is needed which creates excellent chemistry for them on the baseball field.

“The key component to becoming a state champ would have to be teamwork.Starting pitcher at the championship game,” starting pitcher Jayden Dubanewicz (27) said. “Everyone has to be on the same page and no one can be selfish.”

Being able to connect with one another, whether it’s at practice or at games is very important for the team. The boys view each other as a second family and all get along at the end of the day. They all agree that being close with their teammates makes everything flow much smoother on the field.

“A key component would have to be having team chemistry,” center fielder Alex Rodriguez (13), first year starter, said. “Like a team bond where everyone likes each other, not having any problems between the players, and having leaders on the team that will lead the way. Everyone on the team has a role to follow.”

D. Fitz-Gerald (3) is now a senior and has been on varsity since his freshman year. Fitz-Gerald has had the experience of being able to go to states all three years and has been a part of every win taken place and hopes to be a part of another.

By the end of the season, the team had taken the spot of number one team in the nation. This year they hope to keep their number one ranking. The MSD baseball team now holds the state champions title loud and proud for the third year in a row.

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About the Contributor
Mia Pappalardo
Mia Pappalardo, Reporter
Mia Pappalardo is a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This is her first year on staff. She enjoys doing gymnastics, writing and spending time with her friends and family.  
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