Brady Norris will never forget the experience of winning the Florida 9A State Baseball Championship.
Norris, a pitcher for Stoneman Douglas High School was the winning pitcher against Miami Columbus High School. The Eagles won the game 3-0. The Eagles had a 27-2 record. They are considered one of the best high school baseball programs by various rating services.
“It felt great to win the state championship. We had a great team. We were all like brothers and this is something we will always remember. I will always wear my state championship ring,” he said. Norris plans to play baseball for Bethune Cookman.
Brandon Kaminer, a junior, was the winning pitcher in the semi-final game against West Orange High School. “It was a great feeling to win the state championship. We were playing a very good team but we came together to win the game,” he said. Kaiminer hopes to play baseball for the University of Miami and eventually the major leagues.
Ivan Nunez, who played third base hit a two RBI double to win the state championship final. “It was great to be part of a state championship team,” he said.
Jesus Luzardo, a left handed pitcher who has signed with the University of Miami baseball team said, “It was a great feeling to win the state championship. We worked hard during the season and we are a brotherhood,” he said.
John McKenna, who plays first base and will play at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point next year said, “It was the best feeling to win the state championship. It takes a lot of work and constant repetition to be a good baseball player,” he said.
Stoneman Douglas has a tradition for having good baseball teams, but this is the school’s first state championship. Many of its players will play on college teams next year and some might play professionally.
Todd Fitz-Gerald, head baseball coach for Stoneman Douglas was pleased with the state title and is looking forward to next season. He believes in challenging the players every day and insisting on a culture of winning.
“The players have to buy in to the system. They have be able to compete at the highest level. The players have to work hard every day,” said Fitz-Gerald.
He insists on fast paced practices. When a ground ball is hit, an infield player has less than 4.3 seconds from the time the ball leaves the bat to field the ball and throw it to a base to get a runner out. “We run our practices by the clock,” said Fitz-Gerald.
He is proud of his assistant coaches. “We have a great coaching staff. They know how to win and have a proven track record. The players really believe in the program. Our goal every year is to get the players to understand our system. We do a lot our teaching in the fall,” he said.
And Fitz-Gerald believes the team will do well next year. “We will reload for next season,” he said.