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Douglas Returns To Regional Final After Upending Flanagan

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There are not too many managers in Broward County that are more well-respected, revered, and successful in the playoffs than Douglas’ Todd Fitz-Gerald and Flanagan’s Ray Evans. The pair have had their programs at the top of the county and state for over a decade.

On Tuesday night, the two managers squared off with a trip to the regional finals on the line, and it was Douglas, led by the left arm of ace Brandon Kaminer, that came away with a 2-1 regional semifinal victory.

“The relationship between us has really developed into a close friendship over the past decade,” said Fitz-Gerald. “If any team was going to move on other than us, I would hope it would be Ray and Flanagan. But, I am glad it is us.”

Evans, ever the professional after a tough pitcher’s duel loss, agreed.

“Fitzy does things right over there. The team is very talented, and they play the game the right way. We didn’t want our season to end tonight, but if it had to end, I am glad it is to them, and I hope they go represent Broward well and bring back a state title.”

The game itself featured two of the top left-handed hurlers in the county. Douglas ace Brandon Kaminer squared off with Flanagan’s Jeremy Cook, and the game played out as advertised, with the two aces exchanging zeroes through the first three innings.

In the fourth, Spencer Dubay stepped to the plate and after fouling off a pitch, drove a ball over the left-center field fence, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

“I was looking for a fastball, and wanted to be aggressive,” said Dubay. “He was throwing the ball well, and with it getting late in the game, I was just trying to get on base.”

After working Cook’s pitch count up, Douglas faced the second half of the Falcons two-headed Monster, Nicholas Davilla in the fifth. Chad McDaniel hit a one-out double. Designated runner Garrett Knoble advanced to third on a wild pitch, and then scored when Raffy Santos hit a scorching ground ball down the third base line that was unable to be handled cleanly. The Eagles suddenly held a 2-0 lead.

“I felt good when we scored the first run,” said Kaminer, “But when we scored the second run I felt we had enough to win the game.”

That is a feeling that the Eagles are used to with their ace on the mound. Kaminer cruised for most of the evening, allowing only six hits.

In the seventh, the Falcons made a push to tie the game. Withe two outs and nobody on, Flanagan showed the fighting spirit that helped them overcome several deficits in the 2017 season. Adrian Roa doubled, then came around to score on an infield error. That would be as far as the rally would go, as the game ended on a line drive to second off the bat of Arrison Perez.

“This is where our season began,” sid Evans. “With a loss to Douglas in the first game of the year, and now it is where it ends in the last game of the year. Brandon threw the game we expected from him, and when he is on he is tough to beat.”

Fitz-Gerald, meanwhile, has his team one game from returning to Fort Myers, where the Eagles captured the school’s first-ever state title last season. Once again, standing in Douglas’ way will be Jupiter.

“We went up there and beat them last year, so I know they will be coming down here for revenge,” said Kaminer. Douglas will host Jupiter next Tuesday. “We have a veteran team that has been there before, and hopefully we can play our game and get the same outcome as we did last year.”

As for Flanagan, their season may have ended where it began, but their ride in-between has come a long way.

“We started the season as bad as we have since I have been here,” said Evans. “We weren’t pitching, weren’t having good at-bats, and weren’t hitting. But as the season went on, some things started to click and they started to come together and do the little things they needed to in order to become a good team. So from that aspect, I am proud of what we have accomplished.”

Brandon Kaminer talks about the win @brandonkaminer

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Spencer Dubay talks about his big HR in tonights game…

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