Bishop Garrigan Baseball Looking to Reload For 2024 Season

by Tyler Lance
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After sharing the Top of Iowa West Conference title with Forest City in 2023 and finishing the campaign with a record of 24-7, the Bishop Garrigan baseball team is looking to reload and hit the ground running to begin their 2024 season.

The first order of business for the Golden Bears is having new arms step up on the pitchers mound. The 2023 pitching staff was led by a trio of seniors, who accounted for nearly 75% of total varsity innings pitched for Bishop Garrigan. Drew Fogarty pitched 57 innings to the tune of an 8-2 record, striking out 72 batters while posting a 1.84 ERA. Nathan Merron accounted for 48.1 innings, with an 8-1 record, 62 punchouts, and a 1.74 ERA, while Garrett Heying was 4-1 with 52 strikeouts and a 3.84 ERA in 27.1 innings pitched. According to Co-Head Coach Rob Meister, the coaching staff has taken a look at a lot of different arms to fill the void.

Senior Drew Lappe pitched in 6 games, throwing 17 innings last season for the Golden Bears, and is the lead returner in terms of experience on the mound. Junior Daniel Meis pitched in 5 games last season, while senior Justin Bauer appeared in three games on the mound last season.

Senior Benjy Trainer is excited to see the young arms for Bishop Garrigan, including Meis, take the mound.

Another top priority for Bishop Garrigan is the catching position, which had been covered by Garrett Heying for the previous four seasons. Heying, who now plays collegiately at Viterbo, capped off his senior campaign in 2023 with a selection to the all-state super team. Lappe, who often caught last season when Heying pitched, will likely see an increased amount of time behind the dish. Sophomore Tate Foertsch, who missed much of last season with a broken arm, will also be a key part of the equation at catcher.

Meister wants whoever is catching to excel at situational baseball.

On the offensive side of things, Bishop Garrigan brings back a solid core group from last years team that scored 325 runs, the 4th most in class 1A, and 7th most in any class. Bauer returns after serving as a tone setter from last season’s lineup in the leadoff spot, hitting .527, placing him in the top ten in the state in average, and swiping 35 bases in 37 attempts, the second most steals in the Top of Iowa West. The 2023 season marked a major breakout for Bauer, who increased his batting average from .247 as a sophomore to .527 as a junior.

Meister feels Bauer was able to diversify his game at the plate, leading to a breakthrough 2023.

Lappe is expected to be a key power source in the middle of the lineup, after batting .388 last season with eleven extra base hits and 30 runs batted in. Other key starters returning from last year included junior Keaton Helleseth, who improved his average from .246 in 2022 to .429 in 2023, senior Benjy Trainer, who is one of three seniors on the roster, and started all 31 games last season, hitting .279, sophomore Carter Schwab, who batted .304 in his first year in the varsity starting lineup, and Brady Galligan, who frequently played the outfield last season and is expected to take a larger role at the plate and on the mound this season.

Bishop Garrigan also expects to be a team that can put pressure on the opposing team on the basepaths, returning four players who tallied double digit steals last year with Bauer (35), Lappe (14), Helleseth (13), and Schwab (12).

An intangible part of Bishop Garrigan’s success the past couple of seasons has been the leadership of the seniors, something Meister expects to continue with this year’s senior class.

Senior Drew Lappe also referenced the importance of leading the players around him.

After sharing the conference title with Forest City last season, Bishop Garrigan’s first conference title since 2012, the Golden Bears will continue to face stiff competition in a balanced Top of Iowa West.

According to Meister, the goals haven’t changed for the program.

Bishop Garrigan opens the season on May 15th against Pleasantville, before hosting Algona on May 17th. The Top of Iowa West opener for the Golden Bears will be on May 20th at Belmond-Klemme.

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