Izaac Garsez - Staring at Fate
It was the situation every young baseball player dreams of.
Two outs, bottom of the ninth, down by four to the best team in the country on the biggest stage imaginable, and you step into the box with the bases loaded.
For reigning All-American Izaac Garsez, he got a chance to live it.
“It was our fate,” said junior catcher Jarel Lewis.
Facing elimination against the Lewis-Clark State Warriors - owners of an NAIA-record 16 national titles - on Saturday at the World Series, Garsez had a chance to tie the game with one swing of the bat.
“Izaac’s been our stud all season,” added Lewis.
“I could see the situation playing out,” said a smiling head coach Shawn Humberger, clearly imagining the possibility of Garsez adding to his team-leading total of eight homeruns.
But on the mound, L-C starting pitcher Anthony Armanino was also locked in his own boyish dream. Going for a complete game in his first start at the NAIA World Series, the short left-handed pitcher welcomed the challenge of retiring the College of Idaho’s best hitter with the season on the line.
On the 133rd pitch of the afternoon, both men saw the scenario play out. For Garsez, it turned out to be a sad reality. For Armanino, it unveiled one of the more memorable moments of his life.
The southpaw threw a chance-up to the left-handed hitting Garsez, who lunged at it ever so slightly, but kept his hand back long enough to make solid contact. With the ball sailing towards the left-center field gap, eventually the ball started to slice back towards leftfielder Kyle Knigge, who made the catch for the 27th and final out of the game.
For Garsez and the Coyotes, it meant the end to one of the most successful seasons and careers in programs history.
Armanino, on the other hand, rejoiced on the mound as the Warriors quest for a 17th national title remained alive.
What does Izaac Garsez have to look forward to?
The career he managed to put together in Caldwell was one of the best in program history.
He leaves as the College of Idaho’s all-time leader in triples (30), fourth in hits (240), runs scored (181) and stolen bases (69), tied for fourth in RBI (151), fifth in homeruns (27), sixth in doubles (45), and ninth in batting average (.361)
Not bad considering he was recruited as a pitcher.
With the Major League Amateur Draft looming June 4-6, Garsez will likely hear his name called. A source says approximately two-thirds of the big league organizations are interested in him as a prospect.
With that in mind, I guess Garsez isn’t done dreaming afterall.
7 Sports Insider: Garsez broke his pinkie finger during Friday’s game against Point Park while trying to avoid a collision at first base. You can see the play here in our extended highlights.
— Jay Tust