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Douglas Set For Flanagan Showdown After Regional Win

The Douglas baseball team has been through much more this season than any high school baseball program should have to ever endure. After experiencing a gut-wrenching start to their season, the Eagles have returned the past month to focusing on baseball, and the results have been evident.

On Tuesday, it was Cypress Bay, who has had to deal with tragedy of their own before the season, that felt the wrath of the Eagles offense. Douglas got an early two-run home run off the bat of Andrew Jenner, and then piled on the runs en route to a 10-1 9A regional quarterfinal win.

“It felt great,” said Eagles Manager Todd Fitz-Gerald, of the Jenner home run. “Especially with the game being 0-0 at the time. I think after that, the momentum was with us the rest of the game.”

Douglas turned to Connor Bryan to do the heavy lifting on the mound, and Bryan responded with six-and-two-third innings of four-hit ball. The righty struck out nine, while walking only one. In a season where injuries have ravaged the Eagles, Bryan has emerged as the go-to guy in the big games, and he came through again on Tuesday.

For the Douglas offense, Jenner’s blast started what became a ten-run onslaught in the third and fourth innings, with six runs in the third and four in the fourth.

Already holding the two run lead, Jonathan Strauss singled, and Coby Mayo walked. After a failed bunt attempt, and a botched hit-and-run, Hunter Fitz-Gerald redeemed himself with a two-run single.

John Rodriguez then hit an infield single, and Colin Flynn’s fielder’s choice brought in the fifth run of the inning. Rodriguez then scored on a wild pitch, completing the six-run frame.

Douglas put the game away in the next inning, when Brandon Auerbach doubled, Strauss singled, and Coby Mayo hit a home run, extending the lead to 9-1.

So now that Eagles has taken care of business, they move on to a familiar foe and friend. When the season started and the Douglas Valentine’s Day tragedy happened, it was the Flanagan program, with Manager Ray Evans, a close friend of Fitz-Gerald, who hosted the Eagles program on a night of remembrance, healing, and eventually some baseball.

Now the two teams will meet, as they have several times the past few years, with a regional finals appearance on the line.

“I’m looking forward to playing a very good Flanagan team next week at home,” said Fitz-Gerald. “This will be the first time in seven years Flanagan has come to Douglas. We are excited about the challenge.”

For Cypress Bay, their season ends on a low note, but had plenty of high moments in Manager Bo Diaz’ first season. The Lightning secured the number two seed in the district on the strength of beating rival West Broward twice, and advanced to regionals with a district semifinal win over the Bobcats.

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