By: Matt Rothman
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas baseball team made history on Saturday in Fort Myers, becoming only the second team in Broward County to win back-to-back State Championships.
The Eagles joined Charles W Flanagan High School, which won championships in 2005 and 2006. MSD now has three State titles in its history, all coming within the last six years.
“It’s just a great feeling, and I couldn’t be happier for the kids,” said Todd Fitz-Gerald. “They are 58-4 in the last two years and finished on a 22-game winning streak. They showed everyone in the country who we are.”
MSD defeated Hagerty High School in the State Semifinals behind a strong performance from Jake Clemente. The University of Florida signee pitched a complete game, allowing only one run and striking out ten. Roman Anthony had the game-winning two-run single in the fifth, while Grant McDonald added another run with a hit in the Eagles’ 4-1 win.
“I knew it was my last outing, and I wanted to leave my heart out and all my energy on the mound,” said Clemente. “I trusted my coaches and my defense behind me. We were able to do something special.”
Then in the Championship game, MSD defeated Palm Beach Central. These teams met in the Regional Final in 2021 when Santiago Ordonez hit a walk-off three-run home run. This year, Chris Arroyo pitched a complete game and ended the final with a three-run home run to give MSD the 10-0 win.
Clemente got the Eagles off to a 1-0 lead with a long home run and also had an RBI single alongside Niko Benestad, Rylan Lujo, and Ordonez all knocked in runs while Alex Rodriguez stole home to make it 6-0 in the third inning. Anthony then hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth before Arroyo homered to end the game.
Thank God 🙌, my family, my coaches and every person who has helped me this year career. I am happy to have finished my Senior Year this way. WE DID IT. Back to Back Champions. GO-EAGLES🏆❤️. I LOVE YOU @clubdoug @SDEagleBaseball Forever❤️ pic.twitter.com/usfnFluoY3
— chrisarroyo2022 (@chrisarroyo2022) May 22, 2022
“It is always amazing to be able to perform my best for my team and end my high school career like this,” said Arroyo. “I only had one goal from the beginning of the season and it was to go back to back so it felt pretty good.”
MSD finished the season with a school record of 30 wins, including winning the High School Baseball Invitational First Pitch Elite Tournament featuring the top-16 teams in the country and the District and Regional Championship.
While the Eagles have ten players set to graduate, nine are expected to play baseball in college. For some, they will also have a chance to go professional if they choose after the MLB Draft in July. Still, MSD will return three of their pitchers from this year’s team and three of their four starting infielders.
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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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