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High School Team Of The Year (Plus Top 50)

Stoneman Douglas High is building a dynasty in South Florida.

Located in Parkland—about 25 miles north of Fort Lauderdale and 45 miles north of Miami—the program captured back-to-back Florida 7A state championships this season.

Earlier this year, Stoneman Douglas became the second non-California program to win USA Baseball’s National High School Invitational, which has operated since 2012.

On its way to complete domination this season, the team won a school-record of 30 games, ending the season on a 22-game win streak. Hopefully, the Eagles have room on their trophy shelf for one last accolade: the Baseball America High School Team of the Year award.

Stoneman Douglas won the TOY award previously in 2016, giving it two nods in the past seven seasons.

Coach Todd Fitz-Gerald has coached Stoneman Douglas for 11 seasons but knew this year’s team was something special from the start.

“It’s really the best group of guys I’ve ever coached as a collective unit,” Fitz-Gerald said. “There are so many talented guys in our program and they rally around each other. They’re so close, not just on the field, but off the field. It was a really fun group to coach and I couldn’t be happier for them.”

Of the 10 seniors graduating from the program, nine are expected to play college baseball next season. One has a chance to hear his name called early on draft day.

Senior outfielder Roman Anthony ranks No. 73 on the BA draft rankings this year, making him a candidate to be drafted in the first three rounds.

Anthony has a chance to join distinguished Stoneman Douglas alums Anthony Rizzo (class of 2007), Jesus Luzardo (2016) and Coby Mayo (2020). All three were drafted out of the program.

“He should be in the top 20 on everybody’s rankings,” Fitz-Gerald said. “He is one of the top players I’ve ever had the privilege of coaching. I put him right there with Eric Hosmer.”

Fitz-Gerald coached Hosmer while at American Heritage in Plantation, Fla., before he became the third overall pick in the 2008 draft.

Anthony is a quiet leader. His coach describes him as a lead-by-example type of player. The Gatorade Florida player of the year came into his own during his senior season. He led Stoneman Douglas in almost every offensive category, including RBIs, OPS and home runs.

“I can go on and on,” Fitz-Gerald said. “Everything that he gets is well deserved. I’d be disappointed if he’s not called on day one (of the draft).”

Anthony also created a team motto: “Who’s second?” The team had a few sayings it would turn to, but each night before a game the players would ask each other “who’s second,” and the goal was for it not to be them.

“Win the last game”—or WTLG—was another saying commonly heard around the Eagles clubhouse.

The team had one other saying it turned to during its record-breaking season: INAM. This four-letter acronym is inscribed on its state championship ring:

“It’s not about me.”

“We didn’t have one ego on the team,” Fitz-Gerald said. “We didn’t have one guy who thought that he was better than everybody else. It was just a total team effort.”

Stoneman Douglas racked up win after win this season, culminating in a chance to defend its state title. With the INAM motto in mind, each member of the lineup performed what was asked of them . . . and then some.

Jake Clemente took the mound for the semifinal game. The righthander tossed a complete game to bring the Eagles back to the championship stage.

For the finale, Stoneman Douglas gave lefthander Chris Arroyo the ball. On the mound, he was locating very well. But the final blow came off his bat. After smacking a three-run homer, Arroyo ended Palm Beach Gardens’ night via the 10-run mercy rule.

“(Clemente) picked the right night to have the best night of his career,” Fitz-Gerald said. “Then Chris Arroyo backed that up and gave similar performance.

“They just compete against each other every day of practice, and I think that’s what made them so good. If a guy went out and struck out eight, well, (the next guy is) going out tomorrow and (will) strike out nine. They competed against each other and had fun with it.

“They always had each other’s backs, and I couldn’t be happier for what those guys gave us. In the end, to be able to do it with two arms in the final two games was pretty impressive.”

Despite losing 10 seniors, including Anthony (Mississippi commit) plus both Clemente and Arroyo (both committed to Florida)—Fitz-Gerald is confident in the future of his team.

Fitz-Gerald’s son Devin, who was sidelined with an injury for part of the season, will make up one part of the nucleus of the future roster. Devin is committed to North Carolina State as a member of the class of 2024, while his older brother Hunter recently announced that he has signed to play for Old Dominion next season after playing two years of junior college ball.

“My younger son, I don’t even have to coach him,” Fitz-Gerald said. “He’s very motivated, very driven and wants to be better than his brother.”

Alongside coach Fitz-Gerald, righthander Christian Rodriguez and lefty Jacob Gomberg will head the rotation for Stoneman Douglas and hope to continue to push the dynasty forward for years to come.

They do this by running practice like a well-oiled machine. The junior varsity and varsity teams practice together for two reasons. One is to make sure that the best set of nine players are gelling together on the field. Fitz-Gerald noted that this does not always mean the nine best individual players.

The second reason is that it gives his varsity team a chance to mentor younger players and set the standard of what is expected when you wear an Eagles uniform.

It is not just the level of talent that made this Stoneman Douglas team special. It’s the culture and expectation Fitz-Gerald has been building since he arrived. In his 29 years of coaching baseball and 11 seasons with the Eagles, he has never had a losing record and has made the state playoffs each year.

When you ask Fitz-Gerald about that, he immediately credits those he has surrounded himself with—his assistant coaches, boosters, parents and administration.

“It’s not just me,” Fitz-Gerald said. “I am who I am because of the players in the program. I’m who I am because of the great coaches that I have, and the administration at the top.

“So without that, I’m just another guy coaching high school baseball.”

High School Top 50

The final National High School Baseball Coaches Association poll

RkHigh SchoolCityStateCoachRecord
1Stoneman DouglasParklandFLTodd Fitz-Gerald30-2
2SumrallSumrallMSAndy Davis35-1
3St. Mary’s PrepOrchard LakeMIMatt Petry39-0
4North OconeeBogartGAJay Lasley39-1
5Northwest RankinBrandonMSKK Aldredge32-2
6ProvidenceCharlotteNCDanny Highnight33-0
7HamiltonChandlerAZMike Woods29-4
8ReaganSan AntonioTXChans Chaoman31-6
9De La SalleConcordCADavid Jeans27-7
10Bishop GormanLas VegasNVGino DiMaria36-7
11St. FrancisMountain ViewCAMatt Maguire31-5
12Doral AcademyDoralFLRalph Suarez26-4
13Rockwall-HeathRockwallTXGreg Harvey35-6
14StintonSintonTXAdrian Alaniz34-1
15RenoRenoNVPete Savage31-6
16OlympiaOlympiaWADerek Weldon26-3
17PopeMariettaGAChris Turco33-7
18Calvary ChristianClearwaterFLGreg Olsen26-2
19HanoverMechanicsvilleVAJason Hancock21-2
20Blue Valley SouthwestOverland ParkKSJoe Allison20-2
21Jackson PrepFlowoodMSBrent Heavener31-7
22Southlake CarrollSouthlakeTXLarry Vucan32-8
23Huntington BeachHuntington BeachCABenji Medure25-9
24Austin PrepReadingMAJonathon Pollard20-0
25MasonMasonOHCurt Bly26-4
26Villa ParkVilla ParkCABurt Call27-5
27LegacyBroomfieldCOTy Giordano27-4
28J Serra CatholicSan Juan CapistranoCABrett Kay22-11
29JesuitTampaFLMiguel Menendez24-8
30ColganManassasVAMike Colangelo22-1
31GeorgetownGeorgetownTXJordan Vierra32-7
32Millard WestOmahaNESteve Frey31-6
33Madison-Ridgeland Acad.MadisonMSAllen Pavatte35-4
34Brother RiceChicagoILSean McBride34-5
35North Broward PrepCoconut CreekFLBrian Campbell23-9
36Orange LutheranOrangeCAEric Borba25-5
37BarbeLake CharlesLAGlenn Cecchini36-4
38St. Augustine PrepRichlandNJMichael Bylone25-1
39RayCorpus ChristiTXOrlando Ruiz35-4
40StockdaleBakersfieldCABrad Showers26-4
41Lake TravisAustinTXMike Rogers34-7
42EdwardsvilleEdwardsvilleILTim Funkhouser29-4
43BasicHendersonNVScott Baker31-10
44AndreanMerrillvilleINDave Pishkur29-4
45Liberty NorthLibertyMORyan Stegall33-9
46American Heritage Acad.PlantationFLBruce Aven25-2
47Archbishop SpaldingSevernMDJoseph Palumbo25-4
48Fort MillFort MillSCTravis Collier25-7
49St. Paul CatholicBristolCTVic Rinaldi21-0
50Notre DameSherman OaksCATom Dill25-9
Mac Horvath (Photo By David Jensen Icon Sportswire Via Getty Images)

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