As if we weren’t already very excited for the start of the 2022 campaign, here’s even more reason to get you fired up for action on the baseball diamond. Last season saw quite the rise in numbers across all classes throughout the state of Iowa and Class 2A was definitely within that mix, posting the second-most overall doubles among all four classes with 3,408. What has set he 2A world apart is the jump made over the last three seasons. Class 2A teams provided the biggest jump out of any class in the state from the pre-pandemic 2019 campaign to last year’s 2021 season. In fact, Class 2A was the only class that saw an increase in doubles from 2019 to 2021 while the rest of the three classes regressed in their totals. The 2A scene produced nearly double the amount of doubles produced last season, reaching nearly 1,800 more in fact. Overall, extra bases has seemed to be a strong point for Class 2A for quite some time, becoming one of the only classes to hit a five-year high in extra-base hits in 2021. Class 2A sporting nearly 500 more extra-base hits than the next-highest mark.
From that, the Class 2A ranks look to keep that streak going into the 2022 ranks and based on what’s returning, that thought is very much alive. In fact, Class 2A ties with Class 3A in returning top-5 doubles leaders from last season, bringing back three of their top five. Every season brings new twists and turns but one things for sure in 2022, there’s going to be plenty of extra-base hits to go around, including doubles. Overall, the class returns four of it’s top-10 doubles leaders from last season which also means returning four of the top total base earners from the 2021 campaign.
Lets break down the returning doubles leaders from last season in Class 2A and who just might make their mark as the doubles king in 2022.
1.) Carter Gallagher (Columbus Catholic): 20 Doubles
Before departing to be one of the newest members of Iowa Western CC baseball next year, Columbus Catholic’s Carter Callagher will look to defend his crown as Class 2A’s doubles king. Last year, Gallagher resided top-five in the entire state with his 20 doubles struck. That in turn, helped him to produce a .529 average complete with 90 total bases, all of which marked career-bests. Gallagher posted 55 total hits for the 2021 campaign which equated to 49 RBI while suffering just ten strikeouts, all career-bests. On top of that, Callagher also sported a 2.27 ERA with 16 K’s through 12 and 1/3 innings pitched. Gallagher was truly an all-around player who has been projectable in multiple positions within the collegiate game so you can only imagine how valuable he will be to Columbus Catholic across the 2022 campaign. He posted a career-high 26 extra-base hits in 2021 and there’s no reason to think that number couldn’t double in 2022.
2.) Eli Lehrman (Anamosa): 17 Doubles
There was a lot that went into Anamosa High School baseball turning things around for their second highest win total in nearly 15 years. Good coaching, great atmosphere, and of course great players made that possible. Once such player on that roster is the returning doubles runner up in Eli Lehrman. His 17 doubles on the year marked a career-best as well as ranking 14th best across the entire state. Lehrman had quite the season overall, batting .317 with a career-best 38 total hits. Such his that equated to 26 RBI and 63 total bases. Lehrman was a powerful force every time he stepped into the batters box and it showed with 20 extra base hits overall on the season. However, he proved to be a patient hitter as he drew 20 walks ranking second-most on the Blue Raider team. Lehrman is definitely another bat that opposing pitchers should already be worrying about. On top of all of that, Lehrman was a strong arm on the mound, leading the team with 63 strikeouts and an ERA of just 1.45, thus limiting opposing bats to a mere .163 average.
3.) Sam Wilt (Anamosa): 16 Doubles
Speaking of productive doubles machines, there’s Kirkwood CC baseball commit Sam Wilt. Also from the Blue Raiders of Anamosa, Wilt made this list by producing 16 doubles for the 2021 campaign. Wilt has been rated the 26th best overall product of the 2022 class and it showed across his junior season, batting .495 while being second to none within Class 1A in total bases earned with 107. That mark in fact, ranked Wilt seventh overall across every batter in the state. He posted the second-highest RBI count with 52 on the season which were spread out across a Class 2A fifth-best 54 hits. Overall, Wilt was quite efficient at hitting the ball and posted 30 extra-base hits altogether, the most out of any Class 2A hitter. He’s also been one strong hurler on the mound, rated seventh-best among the class of ’22 thanks to a 2.41 ERA and 61 strikeouts for the year. There’s no doubt than opposing pitchers (and hitters) will have a hard time when they face the Blue Raiders and Wilt will be a big part of that.
4.) Jaxon Schumacher (Treynor): 15 Doubles
If someone hasn’t heard about the great work done by Treynor’s very own Jaxon Schumacher, they’ve been living under a rock. Schumacher has had quite the high school career so far, which included a sophomore campaign where he ranked ninth in Class 2A with 15 doubles, part of a 26 extra-base hit season. Schumacher played a big role in Treynor’s 15th straight .500 or better season. He posted a season average of .584 complete with 84 total bases on the year. Schumacher posted 40 hits which in turn helped to produce 35 RBI. All that of course, is with suffering a mere six strikeouts on the season, the lowest mark among any returning top-ten doubles leaders within Class 2A. What makes things even scarier is not the 13 stolen bases that comes back, but the fact that such a strong hitter only improved over the offseason. He was dubbed the “MVP” of the PBR-Iowa Preseason All-State Showcase event, leading all appropriate classes in 60-yard dash time (6.76), catcher velocity (81 mph), and pop-time (1.86-2.00).
5.) Mike Delzell (Camanche): 14 Doubles
En route to the now Camanche Storm posting their highest win total season since 2008, the now senior Mike Delzell had a strong 2021 season. His 14 doubles landed him top-12 in doubles across Class 2A. That paired well with his 21 extra-base hits overall on the season. Delzell sported a .495 average with 83 total bases. Just like Schumacher, it was a rarity to witness a Delzell strikeout at the plate as he had just eight all season long in 2021. Overall, Delzell touched up an even 50 hits with a Class 2A fourth-best 48 RBI. That’s without mentioning the 15 walks and 12 stolen bases for Delzell across the 2021 season. And of course, you can’t forget the 23 strikeouts put forth over 21 innings of work on the mound. It’s been easy to see just how impactful Delzell can be over the course of his career, something that’s only going to get better in 2022.
6.) Caleb Wulf (West Liberty): 13 Doubles
It was another strong season for several West Liberty players but perhaps none more so than Caleb Wulf. His 13 doubles on the season were part of a season in which he hit .520 at the plate, complete with 62 total bases. Wulf did rack up quite the hit count with 39 but the most astonishing aspect about his game last year was the fact that he only struck out four times across 75 at bats. That marks the fewest amount of strikeouts across anybody in the top-10 returning doubles leaders for the 2022 campaign. For his productive efforts on the season, Wulf recorded 33 RBI. Those 13 doubles were apart of an 18 extra-base season as well. Ranked 8th among ’22 shortstops in the state, this future Southeastern CC baseball talent will surely give opposing teams lots of fits for the season ahead.
T-7.) Preston McCoy (Alta-Aurelia): 12 Doubles
There was a lot at play in 2021 that helped Alta-Aurelia baseball produce their ninth 20-plus win season over the last 15 years. One such component across the 2021 season was Preston McCoy. He held a hot bat four sure, blasting 12 doubles and sporting a season batting average of .337. Overall, McCoy earned 46 total bases and his 30 hits helped to produce 15 RBI on the season. He’s been rated in the top 30 across all ’22 shortstops in the state and it was easy to see why the way he delivered at the plate and on the base paths. When McCoy reached base, it often turned into a track meet with the now senior swiping 35 bases, the most out of the returning top-10 doubles leaders for 2022. In all, McCoy totaled 14 extra-base hits. McCoy was also a strong hurler on the mound, sporting 21 strikeouts through 20 innings pitched.
T-7.) Jack Menster (Cascade): 12 Doubles
One of the top doubles producing sophomores across Class 2A, Cascade’s Jack Menster produced 12 doubles in 2021. That was part of a 16 extra-base hit season which helped Cascade to just one win shy of their 12th 20-plus win season over the last 15 years. Menster hit .373 at the plate complete with 59 total bases on the year. Overall, the tried and true bat of Menster delivered 38 total hits, driving in 15 runs. His bat was also matched by his speed on the base paths, leading all Cascade runners with 13 stolen bases on the year. On top of that, he committed just four errors in the field defensively and has been known to be a player coaches and players alike can count on to bring production to the field.
T-7) Braden Powers (Denver): 12 Doubles
It was another strong season within a tough East division of the North Iowa Cedar conference for the Denver Cyclones across 2021. A big reason for that was the right-hander known as Braden Powers. Across his junior campaign, Powers struck an average of .324 at the plate en route to totaling 68 bases on the year. Powers was really productive on balls in play, sporting 41 RBI across his 35 hits on the year. He is one of several reasons for fans to be excited about their home town team as Powers helps represent 81 percent of the team’s returning run production from the 2021 campaign. Powers was certainly a versatile player which was shown on the mound as well, sporting a 2.82 ERA, watching his ever-growing strikeout total rise to 58 through 59 innings pitched at seasons end.
10.) Max Gast (Osage): 11 Doubles
What a season it was for the Green Devils of Osage High School. Through a rigorous Top Of Iowa Conference, Osage held it’s own and within those efforts resided Max Gast. The second-team All-Conference member had quite a campaign in 2021, using his 11 doubles to lead all Class 2A freshmen hitters. Such poise and talent at the freshman level helped Gast produce 27 hits which he turned into a .365 average overall, complete with 44 total bases. He had 16 RBI, 15 walks, and one of the lowest strikeout totals among any freshman in the state with six. Gast also proved his worth on the pitching mound as well, sporting 48 strikeouts he garnered through just 28 innings pitched. That left opposing bats with a mere .163 average collectively.