Baseball: Red Wing backstop a budding coachCatcher’s equipment is referred to as the tools of ignorance but when Red Wing senior catcher David Goggin straps on the chest protector, shin guards and mask nothing could be further from the truth.
By: Nick Gerhardt, The Republican Eagle
Catcher’s equipment is referred to as the tools of ignorance but when Red Wing senior catcher David Goggin straps on the chest protector, shin guards and mask nothing could be further from the truth.
Goggin knows the game of baseball better than most his age, so much so that Wingers head coach Jim Bohmbach goes to him for scouting reports on opponents. Goggin knows the strengths and weaknesses of opponents often before Red Wing takes the field and if he doesn’t he learns quickly.
It’s been that way for a long time with Goggin, who will play next year at Division II Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. He stepped into a leadership role as a freshman, Bohmbach said, but as a senior he’s expanded his role.
Goggin hits second in the lineup and hit .338 with 20 RBI, good for second on the team behind junior center fielder Ryan Boldt, who has 27 RBI. Goggin will play a prominent role Thursday when the fifth-ranked Wingers (22-1) take on 11th-ranked Eastview (20-4) at 3 p.m. at Midway Stadium in the opening game of the Class 3A state baseball tournament. It’s not just his hitting and fielding that make him an important piece to the team, but also his leadership.
Goggin reads an excerpt from “SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper” prior to each game to inspire confidence and belief among teammates.
“There's one little passage that we read that basically explains how we're going to play the playoffs from here on out,” Goggin said. “It starts out with, 'Without the belief that you are going to succeed the mission is always impossible. With the belief that you're going to succeed you will always complete the mission.'”
Goggin’s leadership extends beyond speeches. Prior to this season he worked with senior left fielder Mike Stegora on his arm strength. Stegora sought out help from the one teammate he knew could provide it when he began working out with Goggin.
It doesn’t stop there with Goggin. Naturally as a catcher he works with the pitching staff to develop a game plan on attacking opponents. Senior pitcher Zach Garner, who is 9-0 with a 1.20 ERA doesn’t even shake Goggin off because he has that much faith in his pitch selection.
“He knows everything about every guy out there,” Garner said. “I don't know where he meets them. I don't know if he's looking on the websites, but he does his research and he knows his stuff. He's always on his phone, checking updates, looking at all these guys. A lot of us don't have the motivation to do that, but I'm glad he does.”
Bohmbach has often let Goggin lead practices throughout the season.
“David has done it before and they can go through all the drills they want and David will be in charge,” Bohmbach said. “He'll be a great coach some day.”
Goggin said he learned more about leadership from watching Pat Kelly last season lead the team. Goggin went beyond watching and read books on maintaining a sharp mental focus, something important in a sport where failing seven out of 10 times at the plate means success.
“I just kind of watched how he went about his business and that definitely helped me knowing that I was going to come on to this role,” Goggin said. “Catchers just kind of naturally have to have that role. So I kind of took that to heart this winter.”
Goggin seems omniscient on the field or in the dugout, yelling out to teammates the proper play in a given situation. The Wingers have taken advantage this season by taking extra bases and against John Marshall Goggin yelled first to teammate Joel Newman, who was standing on first base, to tag up on a deep foul ball toward third base.
Goggin has made one error this season in 23 games and had one passed ball. Goggin has four pickoffs this season and has not thrown a ball into center field or right field on a pickoff attempt at first base.
“If you watch him catch, depending on what pitch, he'll move guys around,” Bohmbach said. “Depending on how their swing is he'll swing guys around and do different things all the time. That's the way it's supposed to be. He's probably one of the best catchers I've ever coached.”
With Goggin behind the plate, the staff has an ERA of 1.65 and eight shutouts in 23 games this season.