COUNCIL BLUFFS — Garret Reisz’s offseason was rolling along as planned: playing in a summer league and preparing for his sophomore year of junior college baseball at Des Moines Area Community College.
"I had every intention of going back," the 2018 Council Bluffs St. Albert graduate said.
But then Creighton called, changing the course of his life.
The Bluejays are looking for starting pitchers after losing their top three to professional baseball. Reisz on Friday accepted Creighton’s offer, and will have three years of eligibility in the Big East.
His home ballpark is now the home of the College World Series, 12 miles from his house in Council Bluffs.
"It’s pretty crazy what they have going," Reisz said. "Playing at TD Ameritrade for three years of college was pretty awesome when I thought about it."
Transferring from Woodbine to St. Albert after his sophomore year, Reisz led Class 1-A with 15 home runs and the state with a 1.043 slugging percentage. A left-handed batter and right-handed pitcher, he also went 7-2 on the mound with a 1.67 ERA, so the big question was whether his future rested with pitching or hitting.
As a freshman at DMACC, Reisz focused mainly on pitching. He had four starts among 11 appearances, going 3-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 30 innings on his 38-17 team. He also had 14 at-bats, managing two hits.
This summer, playing in the Pioneer League in Granger, Iowa, for the Peak Performance Prospects, Reisz had been mainly a position player, working on his hitting and defense.
But then Creighton called. Three Bluejay pitchers who combined for 49 of the team’s 54 starts last year went pro. Mitch Ragan was drafted in the 15th round by the New York Mets, Denson Hull went to Arizona in the 28th round and Evan Johnson signed a free-agent deal with Seattle.
Creighton called Nic Mishler. He was DMACC’s pitching coach last year but will be the head coach in the 2020 season. The Bluejays told him they were looking for players to compete for a spot in the starting rotation. They watched Reisz throw in a game a couple of weeks ago. Reisz said he threw between 88 and 90 mph, reaching 91, and had a solid outing in his short stint. During the season when he was throwing more frequently, he said he usually threw between 89 and 91, occasionally hitting 93.
Reisz visited Creighton last Thursday and called to accept on Friday.
"They have a pretty good track record of having guys drafted, which was a plus," Reisz said. "I’m going to miss hitting, for sure, but I think my future is pitching."
Reisz’s goal is to become a weekend starter for Creighton, which finished 41-13 last season and missed a trip to a super regional by one game, falling 17-6 to eventual national runner-up Michigan in a winner-take-all matchup despite leading 4-1 early.
Reisz said his biggest priority will be "locating my fastball, curveball, change-up, whatever the count is. That’s the big thing. I think my velocity and my stuff is good enough, it’s just kind of locating it and putting it where I want."