Following a claim by Forest City that Bishop Garrigan used a pitcher past his allowed amount of pitches, the school will now forfeit the game, and Forest City will be declared the conference champions.
A discussion broke out Wednesday night between Forest City head baseball coach Jeff Jerome and someone inside the Bishop Garrigan dugout before the bottom of the seventh inning of their conference game. The discussion was regarding the pitch count of Bishop Garrigan starter Drew Fogarty. Forest City believed that Fogarty was at 110 pitches – the max allowed by Iowa High School Athletic Association rule – before he started pitching to Forest City senior Carter Bruckhoff. He retired Bruckhoff on six pitches, leaving him at 116. But Bishop Garrigan argued that he started Bruckhoff’s at-bat at 109 pitches and ended at 115 – which would’ve been legal. By IHSAA rule, if a pitcher begins an at-bat below 110 – they can finish the current batter before they must be removed.
The original conversation ended in Bishop Garrigan’s favor because they’re the home team, and in high school sports, the home teams book is official. The game was tied 3-3, and the teams proceeded to the bottom of the seventh inning, where Bishop Garrigan’s Drew Lappe hit a walk-off single.
A live stream of the game is posted to Youtube, and while rewatching, you can conclude that Fogarty threw the following pitches.
It gave him a total of 98 through six innings. In the seventh, he threw 12 pitches to reach 110 with two outs, and instead of changing pitchers, Garrigan thought Fogarty was a 109 and he could face Carter Bruckhoff before his removal. But it was an error on Bishop Garrigan, and Fogarty became an illegal pitcher throwing his first pitch to Bruckhoff.
After rewatching the game, Bishop Garrigan has announced they contacted the Iowa High School Athletic Association, and the game will be forfeited to Forest City.
“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.” – Rob Meister, Bishop Garrigan co-head baseball coach and activities director.
Forest City decided not to comment on the situation.
This isn’t the first time in recent history that Bishop Garrigan has used a pitcher they weren’t supposed to. On June 5th, 2019, a game at Rockford was suspended with two outs in the top of the third inning, and later the Bears were forced to forfeit for using an illegal pitcher.
The game will be recorded as a Forest City 1-0 win, and all stats in the game other than Bruckhoff final strikeout – where the illegal pitches accrued – will be recorded like usual. As proved from the game in 2019, when Rockford received a Bishop Garrigan forfeit, the Rockford stats were still allowed to be registered.
Forest City has won its second straight conference title for the first time since 1997 and 1998 and the fourth for Jerome, who is in his 17th year. Forest City ends the regular season 15-7 overall and will head into the postseason as the top seed in Class 2A District 5.
The win is also a milestone for Jerome. It’s not how he had drawn it up, but the victory is his 250th career victory. In 17 years, Jerome has racked up 250 wins to 237 losses.