Photo gallery by Liam Hutton
A crowd thickened as it waited expectantly for MSD royalty (the varsity baseball team) to arrive in the main courtyard May 23 at 12 pm in celebration of the team’s 2016 FHSAA 9A State Championship victory, in which they defeated Miami Columbus for the title May 21. Hundreds of screaming students looked on proudly as the baseball team was recognized for their accomplishments, a home run for the MSD athletics program.
In honor of MSD’s first baseball state championship win in the schools’ 26 year history, Principal Ty Thompson (among other faculty members) put together an impromptu celebration. Students were escorted to the courtyard by their fifth hour teacher where they were to participate in festivities honoring the team’s victory. The event was planned in order to raise school spirit; attendance was compulsory.
“I think the event was a nice way to honor the team and a great way to honor the seniors,” player Brandon Auerbach said.
Within minutes, a crowd drew in the center of the courtyard. The horde was buzzing with excitement; students pushed to get to the front of the pact, waving cell phones and talking loudly in anticipation.
“It was so exciting to be a part of school history,” senior Antonela Lezcano. “We were just so happy being there together as a school to celebrate a victory. Even after I graduate, I’m really going to remember how much of a community it felt like we were today. I’m glad the baseball team’s victory united our school, and I’m glad this is one of my last memories of the school.”
After the throng settled, the drum line played, feeding off of the crowd’s energy. Cheerleaders, who were in the middle of the action worked to pep up the crowd by clapping their hands. But, soon the crowd seemed less interested, and it was time to bring out the main attraction: the baseball team.
The team was announced, and the players walked out of an inflatable tunnel in the shape of an eagle; the crowd roared.
“I think it is amazing and all to finally bring a state champion home and to have all the people here supporting us,” captain Colton Welker said. “It’s a great feeling to know people care.”
After a few minutes, players John McKenna and Joey Bullion were handed microphones. Both gave quick speeches in which they thanked the MSD community, their coaches, and their teammates for the support the team has seen throughout the season.
“Thank you to everyone who put this together,” McKenna said. “It has been a really great event and a really awesome thing just to get the school together. It [is] nice to have the accomplishments of what our baseball team did recognized. It is really great to have everyone out in one place.”
After speeches, “Ring Chase” a motivating hip-hop and rap song produced by Marjory Stoneman Douglas seniors Demetri Fortaleza, Gordon Jupiter and Joey Bullion in honor of the baseball program was blasted. The baseball team bobbed their heads (many of which clad in blonde mohawks as part of a “team bonding exercise”) along to the song. Most humorous was the reaction of coach Anthony Medina, who rapped the song in it’s entirety into a microphone.
“We decided to play a clean version of the song today,” Thompson said. “It’s a great motivational song.”
But, perhaps the victory is a little more personal to Thompson than just another notched win. This is the first state championship victory MSD has seen with Thompson as principal. And, according to Thompson (who personally attended and live-tweeted the championship game) hopefully one of the many MSD will have under his administration.
“We were already on the map because of other things,” Thompson said. “We were always looked to as an academic school- which is awesome- but this will show the world a little bit more of how well rounded the MSD community is now that athletics are out there too. I’m excited for the baseball team, and I’m excited for Stoneman Douglas in general because we can all rally behind this.”
While the rally lasted just under 15 minutes, one this is for certain: the accomplishments of the baseball team will be remembered for a long time on the MSD campus. And, as displayed in typical MSD fashion today in the courtyard, the achievements of the baseball team- as well as any other school sponsored activity- will forever be regarded with the highest levels of “eagle pride.”
Video shot and edited by Colin Cotaldo – Courtesy of WMSD News
— Aerie Yearbook (@AerieYearbook) May 23, 2016
Stoneman Douglas – Class 9A baseball state champions https://t.co/icZqUaV9jZ
— SD Eagles Baseball (@SDEagleBaseball) May 23, 2016
— Medina (@Spliffame) May 23, 2016
— Anthony Rizzo (@ARizzo44) May 21, 2016