Baseball upsets Winter Park, wins district championship

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Head coach Mike Sindone led his team to do what critics thought was impossible in his first postseason, upsetting the 16th-ranked team in the nation, Winter Park. Then they beat Oviedo two nights later to get their second consecutive district championship.

The beginning of the season was poor, as the team started 0-7 and had to deal with multiple injuries.

“People said Hagerty wasn’t going to be what it was years ago,” third baseman Bryce Fitzgerald said. 

Since then, they have climbed back to a 15-11 record. 

The team feels this record does not represent their skillset, however. Considering they have one of the toughest schedules in the state, Rodriguez believes facing powerhouse teams like Spruce Creek, Seminole and Lake Mary helped prepare the team more.

“We knew by scheduling so difficult we would have to all check our egos at the gate and accept that our record didn’t matter,” Sindone said. “It was important for our entire team to believe this would pay off and it absolutely did.”

In the Winter Park game, this proved to be true when starting pitcher Garret Baumann threw a complete game. He allowed only six hits with six strikeouts, keeping Winter Park’s offense to only one run which allowed Hagerty to sit on their 2-1 lead in the seventh inning. Winter Park also had five errors in the game; Hagerty had zero. 

“It felt awesome since it is pretty hard to throw a complete game because of pitch count and if you are throwing strikes or not,” Baumann said. 

After the upset in the semifinals, the team won their third matchup this season against Oviedo, who they had beaten twice already in the regular season 3-1 and 7-0.

Trent Caples started the game on the mound and was able to lock the Oviedo bats up after the first inning after allowing two quick runs in the first. Along with closer Talan Bell pitching the last two outs, they threw a combined two-hitter to finish the game.

“After Oviedo scored two runs, we came back and scored three, and that only happened because the team didn’t shut down physically and emotionally,” Bell said. “We knew we had a lot of baseball left to score runs, and we ended up scoring in the next half inning which eventually led us to the win.”

This late success still doesn’t surprise Sindone and his staff, because in most of their games the team was “one hit away.” 

“Between last year getting cut short, a few injuries and a slow start to the season, we very easily could have had a different outcome,” Sindone said. “As a coaching staff, we remained positive and assured them good things will happen if they keep buying in. We knew if we could get healthy and play good baseball by mid-April, that we had as good of a chance as any team.”

They will continue their playoff run Friday at the baseball field against West Orange in the FHSAA 7A Regional quarterfinal matchup at 7 p.m. The winner of this game will face the winner of the Seminole vs. Lake Brantley game. Despite the weight of this game, they believe they are fully prepared both mentally and physically.

“Each pitch matters and every out matters,” Sindone said. “They learn and move on, which shows a tremendous amount of maturity on their part.”

2021 FHSAA Baseball State Championships 7A FHSAA Baseball

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