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Baseball: State Champs!

Baseball: State Champs!

On a sweltering day in Fort Myers, Jesuit baseball did it again, defeating Plantation American Heritage 5-2 on Saturday (May 18) to capture its 3rd State title in 5 seasons.

It is the 7th State crown overall for the Tigers, lifting baseball into a tie with soccer for the most in school history. It was also a historic championship for Jesuit athletics, the school’s 30th overall in 8 different sports in FHSAA competition.

The Tigers led from start to finish at Hammond Stadium, the spring training home of the Minnesota Twins, as D.J. Pirela ’24 set the tone with a leadoff double off the wall. Meanwhile, starter McCall Biemiller ’24 (4 1/3 innings) and reliever Wilson Andersen ’26 (2 2/3rds) stayed cool, threw strikes, and worked out of pressure.

There were strong performance throughout the lineup. During the State Semifinal and Final, Noah Sheffield ’24 scored a combined 5 runs. Jack Clark ’24’s booming double helped the Tigers build a lead in the Final. Clark and Brody Smith ’25 executed some baserunning sleight of hand to score a critical run.

In the 7th inning, as American Heritage tried to summon one last rally, Pirela made a full-extension diving grab to rob a base hit attempt, then he settled under a routine fly ball for the final out - meaning he would be the last one to arrive at the raucous dogpile celebration near the mound.

Seven Tigers had a hit Saturday, with Will Burke ’24 collecting two and Cannon Murtagh ’26 notching an RBI single. For infielder Jacob Lozano ’24, it was his 3rd straight start in a State Championship game, and he contributed a sacrifice fly that plated a run and a critical late defensive play, making a strong backhand flip to keep American Heritage out of scoring position. Catcher Vincent DeCarlo ’25 made several key defensive plays, and he, Zane Pestalozzi ’24, and Jack Earnest ’24 had the big hits in the Semifinal. Aden Knowles ’24 went the distance on the mound in the 11-1 Semifinal win over Wesley Chapel, and shortstop Kaden Waechter ’26 had a hit in both State games.

Jesuit (26-6) avenged an extra-inning loss to American Heritage in last year's title game, and the Tigers closed this season with 13 straight wins.

Since taking over in 2015, head coach Miguel Menendez has led Jesuit to three State titles (2019, 2022, 2024) and two State runner-up finishes (2017, 2023), as well as an undefeated, No. 1 nationally ranked team in 2020 before COVID-19 shut down that season.

View photos below, and check the @JesuitBaseball Twitter/X account for great coverage of the championship game as well as more photos.