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North Broward Prep Reaches New Heights With 3rd State Title

The 2024 Class 3A state champion North Broward Prep Eagles.

3A State Final Press Conference

Box Score

Four seasons ago the North Broward Prep Eagles planted their flag and claimed their first state title. But that was only the beginning, as the team worked its way back every year since. On Wednesday afternoon, the Eagles returned full circle to claim another state championship, its third overall during this historic run.

North Broward broke a late tie with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth, then held off one final push to earn a 5-4 win over the Westminster Christian Warriors, to win the Class 3A state championship at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.

“It’s hard to win here, and anybody who wins here should feel good about it,” North Broward Manager Brian Campbell said. “It’s hard to get here and it’s hard to win when you do get here. I defer a lot of the credit, because I am one of the least important parts of this. I’ve got a coaching staff that I’ve had for a really long time and they do a fantastic job, I have an athletic administration that supports us and really, really has our backs. And I’ve got players who will run through a brick wall for each other. I say all the time I am not the most important part, but I am grateful to be a part of this.”

This trophy brings it full circle for some of the cornerstone players who have been a part of this entire run, since winning it the first time as freshmen. Those same guys were the ones flying around on the field making the big plays, adding the final layer of cement to their legacies.

“Just to celebrate with the boys was awesome,” senior Gian De Castro said. “All the hard work that we put in each and every day, for it pay off means everything to me.”

The Eagles dogpile after winning the state championship for the third time in four years.

Senior Mateo Gray provided his guys with an immediate spark by crushing a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning to put North Broward up right away. TJ Gramesty singled to left with one out, and Gray worked the count in his favor to then jump on a 2-0 offering and send it deep and over the left field fence.

“It was huge for us to jump out ahead,” Campbell said. “It made our starting pitcher settle down too when we had a two-run lead. To get that lead and give our pitcher a moment of breath and he doesn’t have to be perfect all the time, it’s huge. That gave us a boost and a little breathing room.”

That breathing room got a bit smaller when the Warriors split the deficit with a run in the third. Manny Marin clubbed a double on a liner to center, and Talan Beckford drove him in with an RBI single to left.

But the Eagles responded to get that run right back. Tanner Uderitz singled on a ball deep to short, Kiernan O’Neill followed with a base hit to left and Gramesty dropped down a bunt on the third base line that loaded the bases in leaving the fielder with no play. Gray then came through with another big swing to deliver a sac-fly RBI on a ball deep to right.

The Eagles celebrate together after Mateo Gray’s two-run home run.

The Warriors continued to battle back, and tied things up with two runs in the top of the sixth. Ethan Puig singled and Jose Lopez doubled to put two runners in scoring position, and James Suarez laced a single to right that had both runners flying around the bases to race in ahead of any relay throw. With the Warriors electrified in that moment, the momentum shifted.

But North Broward answered right back, retaking the lead with the deciding runs in the bottom of the inning. Nik Koorse was hit by a pitch and Max Burkholz reached on a fielder’s choice. O’Neill then hit a ground ball that got past the fielder to allow both runners to come home for a 5-3 advantage.

“Hats off to Westminster Christian, I thought that was a really electric and fun high school baseball game. You expect nothing less in a state championship game,” Campbell said. “Congratulations to them on a great season, but I am really proud of my team. A lot of work has gone into this, and some of these guys have been here all four years. I’m just really, really proud of them, and I’m proud to be their coach.”

Dinner of Champions.

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