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Plant’s magical run ends with title game loss to Stoneman Douglas

One night after rallying to beat Park Vista in a Class 7A semifinal, the Panthers meet their match in the undefeated Eagles.
 
Plant reliever Mitchel Doane fires a pitch during the Class 7A final Wednesday night in Fort Myers. Parkland Marjory Stoneman Douglas won 10-0 in five innings to complete its season 29-0 and ranked No. 2 in the nation by maxpreps.com.
Plant reliever Mitchel Doane fires a pitch during the Class 7A final Wednesday night in Fort Myers. Parkland Marjory Stoneman Douglas won 10-0 in five innings to complete its season 29-0 and ranked No. 2 in the nation by maxpreps.com. [ SCOTT PURKS | Scott Purks, Special to the Times ]
Published May 25, 2023|Updated May 25, 2023

FORT MYERS — A night after pulling off one of the greatest comebacks in recent state semifinal memory, Plant High School ran into a juggernaut in Parkland Marjory Stoneman Douglas in a 10-0, five-inning loss in the Class 7A final.

The Eagles, 29-0 and ranked No. 2 in the nation by maxpreps.com, were simply too much for the Panthers Wednesday, with hard-throwing junior pitcher Jayden Dubanewicz (a Florida commit), and a host of hard-hitting players.

Douglas, in fact, has now won three straight state titles and 51 consecutive games dating back to last season.

“We played a very good team and, like a few other teams who have played them, no one has slayed that dragon,” Plant coach Dennis Braun said. “(Douglas) also played very well (Wednesday).”

Braun said he didn’t see any flatness from his team after its highly emotional 5-4, come-from-behind victory over Park Vista just one night earlier.

“I didn’t see anything that indicated we had a letdown or anything,” Braun said. “There were some things we could have done a little better.”

Douglas jumped on Plant (21-8) right away with three runs in the first inning on two doubles and two singles.

The Eagles added four more runs in the fourth on a triple, a double, two walks and a single. The momentum was completely on the Eagles’ side, especially with Dubanewicz dealing his 90-plus mph live fastball.

“He’s definitely one of the best arms we’ve seen this year,” Braun said. “He’s certainly right up there.”

Plant scratched out just one hit and had only one other runner reach base (on an error,) while Douglas, which came in averaging eight runs per game, collected 10 hits.

For Plant, which made the state semifinals last season, it marked the first time since 2009 that it reached a championship game in baseball. The Panthers were going for their second state title in school history, the first coming in 1988.

Plant surprised a lot of people this season by reaching the final after finishing as a district runner-up to Alonso. From there, however, the Panthers were outstanding in defeating Sarasota 14-2, Lakewood Ranch 7-0, Windermere 1-0 and Park Vista 5-4.

“We have every reason to be proud of our season,” Braun said. “I am very proud of our guys and how they handled themselves. (Wednesday) just wasn’t our night.”