Stars show out for jersey retirement

Zack Eflin, Jeff Driskel, Ryan Mountcastle jerseys retired at baseball field

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Faith Marino

Broncos quarterback Jeff Driskel (left) and Orioles third baseman Ryan Mountcastle (right) accept their retired jerseys at home plate.

By Hayden Turner, Hagerty High School

The level of talent on the baseball field hit an all-time high on Feb. 6, with Baltimore Orioles third baseman Ryan Mountcastle and Denver Broncos quarterback Jeff Driskel in attendance for a first-ever event. Both athletes, along with Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Eflin, got their Hagerty baseball jerseys retired to commemorate their athletic success after high school.

Eflin could not attend, but Mountcastle and Driskel arrived with family members and significant others. Each was presented with a framed Hagerty baseball jersey, while a permanent jersey windscreen was attached to the left-field wall for each of the three players.

“It is an unbelievable honor to hear some of the nice things that people say about you and know that I had a little part to do what Hagerty baseball is doing now,” Driskel said.

After the jersey retirement ceremony, Driskel and Mountcastle participated in the alumni home run derby with other former players to take swings on their old home field. Mountcastle took home the crown, but Detroit Tigers outfielder Riley Greene gave him a run for his money.

“It’s just a lot of fun to see them perform even in a practice setting because they are freak athletes,” pitcher Caleb Rodriguez said. 

In Eflin’s senior season at Hagerty, he threw for 59 strikeouts with a 0.51 earned run average (ERA), earning many honors such as first-team all-conference, first-team all-central Florida. 

Driskel was a part of two playoff games including the 2010 district championship, where he stole home. On the gridiron, he was the number one quarterback prospect in the class of 2011, and during his career he threw for 4,844 yards and 36 touchdowns, awarding him the  Gatorade Florida Player of the Year and three-time all-conference selection. 

Mountcastle was a part of two district championships, a three-time all-conference selection, and was named the most valuable player of the 2015 Under Armour All-American Game. 

Head coach Mike Sindone has only been with Hagerty for two years, but appreciates the program’s impact on the three players; he believes their success speaks volumes.

“Our program was just their foundation for getting them started,” Sindone said. “They were coached hard when they needed it and had a mentor there for them when they needed that.”

Prior to Sindone, former head coach Jered Goodwin coached all three players during their time at Hagerty and believes their success mirrors the expectation that has been set throughout the school’s history.

“The expectation is that you’re coming here to play at the next level and win championships,” Goodwin said. “That’s the type of atmosphere and type of chemistry we wanted.”

This story was originally published on Hagerty Journalism Today on February 10, 2021.