It’s common for a father to coach his son throughout little league and travel ball. However, it’s unlikely for that connection to last throughout high school.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Eagles baseball team has a unique scenario with head coach Todd Fitz-Gerald coaching his son, Hunter, on his varsity baseball team.
So far this season, they are 16-2 (7-0) and are on a 11-game winning streak as the Parkland high school looks to lock down a top seed in the upcoming district regionals in May.
Earlier this season, the father-son duo from Margate had a special moment as Todd earned his 400th career win on March 21 in a 5-3 win in over second place J.P. Taravella in Coral Springs.
Coach Fitz-Gerald said it was a big milestone victory for him, especially with his son, being a senior, playing for him.
“That was something we really wanted to get this year,” he said. “I can’t tell you that’s not the end for me. I have a lot more wins hopefully to get, but having 400 and having him be part of that with him graduating was really nice.”
Fitz-Gerald was named National Baseball Coach of the Year two times in 2008 and 2016 and has produced two State Championships and one National Championship back in 2016. He has had over 20 players move on to play professional baseball including All Star first basemen Eric Hosmer.
Currently, seven more players are committed to continuing their journey to the MLB by playing collegiate baseball, including Hunter, who will be playing at Florida Southern during the 2019-2020 baseball season.
In 18 games this season, Hunter has an incredible team leading .522 batting average including six home runs and 23 runs batted in (RBIs).
“We have been practicing really hard and training every day and really focusing on our hitting. Our coaches work with us a lot,” said Hunter. “The energy in our dugout is always up and the guys are always behind us pushing our backs to be better every game.”
The team’s second leading hitter, Andrew Jenner, who will be attending Winthrop University next year is hitting .453 in 18 games including two home runs and 12 RBI’s. As a team, MSD is hitting .346 and averaging 7.1 runs per game.
The other college recruits on the offensive side consist of Gabe Cabrera who will be attending the University of Central Florida. Cabrera has hit one home run and is third on the team in RBI’s.
Defensively, the Eagles have a team earned run average of 1.42 with three pitchers holding an ERA under 2.00. Leading the charge has been has been Kyle Yeoward, who will be pitching in the Atlantic Sun Conference next season at Stetson. He hopes to become the next great pitcher to come out of Stetson following in the footstep’s CY Young award winners Jacob deGrom and Corey Kluber.
Yeoward is 5-0 and has given up just two earned runs in 25.1 innings with a staggering 0.52 earned run average or ERA. He has struck out nearly a third of the batters this year and given up just 15 hits.
Following Yeoward, Luke Schiltz has been a superb number two starter for the Eagles as he is 4-2 on the year with a 2.21 ERA. Schiltz is graduating this spring and will continuing to play baseball at Florida Southwestern next season.
Out of the bullpen, Luis Fuentes and Kane Piccinini have combined to throw 15.2 innings allowing just four earned runs between them and the Arkansas recruit of Kevin Heinrich is 4-0 with a .88 ERA in 11 appearances this season.
Louis Esposito, who will be attending Broward College, is the last recruit, and has helped chip in two wins this year making two starts in four appearances.
The Eagles are most recently coming off a back-to-back wins outscoring their opponent 22-1 in the two games and will look to extend their winning streak to 12 on Apr. 25, when they visit Monarch High School in Coconut Creek for conference matchup. Following that, they will finish the season with three straight home games against Monsignor Place, Cardinal Gibbons, and American Heritage before playing in district regionals.
- Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor degree in journalism. Originally from Long Island, he moved to Parkland shortly after high school. Matt worked as the assistant sports editor for his school paper, eaglenews.com in college becoming just one of nine students in his graduation class to serve over 1,000 community service hours. His goal is to travel to every Major League Baseball stadium, and has been to multiple US Open finals. He hopes to one day to be a beat writer for a professional team.
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