Parkland Douglas ends Plant’s run in state title game

By Jarrett Guthrie, Editor
Photos by Mike Camunas

FORT MYERS – The magic Plant carried over from a late-inning comeback win in the Class 7A state semifinal just couldn’t standup to the national No. 2-ranked Parkland Stoneman Douglas in

Wednesday’s state title game. The Eagles claimed FHSAA gold for the third-straight season, defeating the Panthers 10-0 in five innings from Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.

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Plant second baseman Tanner Swank throws to first base.

The loss ended a hard-fought run for the Panthers, who advanced to the final four for the second time in a row.

Plant (21-8) saw a fire lit after dropping its district title game to Alonso, ripping off a mercy-rule win in the region opened against Sarasota, before ace Robert Satin tossed a no-hitter against Lakewood Ranch, and Mitchel Doane and Garrett Hill held Windermere to a single hit to book a trip to the state series.

“No one thought we’d be here again,” Plant senior Jack Meade said. “We lost the district championship game, and that lit a fire in us.”

Plant junior righty Garrett Hill.

The duo of Hill and Doane worked relief innings as the Panthers rallied for a comeback win in Tuesday’s state semifinal win against Lake Worth Park Vista.

Plant reliever Mitchel Doane.

On Wednesday, the task was much taller for the pair of pitchers, as Douglas (29-0) kept it’s overwhelming offensive juggernaut on the move. Entering the game with 90 extra-base hits on the season, the Eagles smacked four doubles and a bases clearing triple from Bennett Gary to seal the victory.

“There is nothing we could have done differently,” Meade said. “They just hit the ball, we played a good game on the field, but they just didn’t let up hitting, and their pitcher was great. That’s just a great team over there.”

Senior Jack Meade dives back into first base.

Meade and senior Trey Freeman (bunt) had the lone Plant singles. Meade finished his senior season bating .273, with 17 RBI and 16 runs scored, but despite the loss said he wouldn’t trade a second with his teammates.

“This team, man, they are family to me,” Meade said. “I’ve spent every day with these guys, Monday through Saturday, and they’ve worked their butts off every day.”

Leftfielder Jack Meade makes a catch in Wednesday’s state final game.

The senior and Hillsborough CC commit, who helped Plant reach the final four in back-to-back years for the first time since a three-year stretch from 1988-90, said he and his fellow seven seniors take a lot of pride in the legacy they’re leaving behind.

“This team’s defense, and everything overall, sticks out for me,” Meade said. “The eight losses don’t look good on paper, but this I think this is one of the most special teams Plant has ever had. I’ll always look back on my time with this team and the moments we had.”

Class 7A State Final ⚾

Parkland Stoneman Douglas 10Plant 0 (5)

P 000|00x|x – |0|2|0
D 304|12x|x – |10|11|0
W – Dubanewicz (11-0); L – Hill
2B – Ossenfort 2, A. Rodriguez, Fitzgerald (D); 3B – Gary (D). Records – P (21-8); D (29-0).