Bishop Garrigan baseball is forfeiting Wednesday night’s 4-3 victory over Forest City and therefore the Top of Iowa West title after it was determined that the Golden Bears committed a violation of IHSAA pitch count rules during a game where the winner would clinch the 2022 conference championship.
In an email statement sent to Hometown Radio KLGA, Activities Director and Co-Head Baseball Coach Rob Meister said the following:
“Due to an error with the pitch count the BG baseball team has had to forfeit their game vs Forest City last night. Once the video could verify the correct number of pitches, BG contacted the IHSAA and Forest City to handle the situation properly. This will serve as the correspondence for the situation. “
There are no further comments on the situation from Meister at this time.
The controversy reached a boiling point in the top of the seventh inning, as Bishop Garrigan starting pitcher Drew Fogarty struck out Carter Bruckhoff with runners at second and third base with two outs to end the inning. Upon the conclusion of the at bat, a discussion began in front of the third base dugout as Forest City Head Coach Jeff Jerome and the Golden Bear coaching staff debated Fogarty’s pitch count. According to IHSAA rules, a pitcher may not begin a new at bat after reaching 110 pitches. There was a one pitch discrepancy between scorebooks, as Bishop Garrigan had Fogarty at 109 pitches prior to Bruckhoff’s at bat, while Forest City contended he had illegally pitched with 110. As the home team, Bishop Garrigan had the official scorebook, so action continued and Bishop Garrigan would ultimately win 4-3 on a walk-off by Drew Lappe in the bottom of the seventh inning, to clinch what they thought would be the conference title. Discussions between the two sides continued as the players celebrated on the field.
Prior to the forfeit, the game had lived up to all of the hype. Bishop Garrigan started the night’s scoring with a solo home run by Cal Birkey in the bottom of the first on the very first pitch from Forest City starter Tommy Miller.
The Indians would quickly respond in the second, with Ty Dillavou reaching on a throwing error by Golden Bear third baseman Jacob Leerar, followed by a two-run homer from Jack Thompson to grab the early lead. Omar Baez would add an RBI single to bring the Forest City lead to 3-1.
Bishop Garrigan tied the game at three in the third inning, with Fogarty pulling a grounder between third base and shortstop to plate one, and a couple batters later Lappe hitting a sacrifice fly to center with the bases loaded, although Fogarty would be thrown out trying to advance to third base.
After the third, pitching would take over as Fogarty and Miller traded zeros until the seventh. Forest City would put runners at first and second with only one out in the fourth inning, and runners at second and third with one out in the fifth, but stranded them on base both times. Bishop Garrigan would have a scoring opportunity in the fourth, with a runner at third and one out, but Nathan Merron was thrown out on a bang bang play at the plate trying to score on a passed ball. The Golden Bears also put runners on first and second in both the fifth and sixth, but stranded them there.
The game also wasn’t without some highlight reel catches, as Bishop Garrigan left fielder Justin Bauer took a possible triple away from Thompson in the top of the 6th, fully laying out to make a diving catch on a drive down the left field line to start the inning.
The forfeit wipes out what would have been Bishop Garrigan’s first conference baseball title since winning the North Central in 2012, while Forest City wins the outright title for the first time since 2017, after splitting the conference championship with Garner Hayfield Ventura last season.
Bishop Garrigan wraps up the regular season Thursday night against St. Edmond, and starts off their Class 1A postseason campaign on Saturday with a matchup against Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn. Forest City has a first round bye in their Class 2A substate bracket, and will play on July 5th against the winner of Central Springs and Clear Lake.
*Story may be updated as more details become available*