Baseball senior Johnny Casale is fulfilling a lifelong dream to play Division I baseball after committing to play and attend school at Loyola Marymount University.
“It means everything to me,” said Casale of playing college baseball. “Since I was three years old, it has been my dream to play Division I baseball. It has been the No. 1 target for me and great to do it at a premier program like LMU. It is the perfect school for me.”
Casale will play for Head Coach Donegal Fergus, who was named the ninth head coach of the Lions baseball program on June 24, 2023. He joins the Lions athletics staff after successful stints at UCSB and the Minnesota Twins of the MLB. The staff includes assistant coaches Justin Dedman, former ASU assistant coach Travis Buck, and former Arizona standout Mathew Troupe.
“I chose LMU for a lot of reasons but the biggest is the coaching staff,” said Casale. “I have been told about the recruiting process that when you find the right school, you will know. They made me feel at home from the second I met them. It is in a great location in Los Angeles, five minutes from the beach, easy access to the airport, and in the middle of everything. It is a beautiful campus and everything about the place is amazing.”
He is excited to work with pitching coach Matthew Troupe, who joined the staff from Hawaii this offseason. The Rainbow Warriors set school Big West Era records across multiple pitching categories while leading the Big West in ERA (3.94) and recorded 454 strikeouts, their most strikeouts in a season since 2006. He played for Brophy head coach Josh Garcia at Arizona.
“I am excited to go play in an environment where I can go play free,” said Casale. “The coaching staff is going to be able to get me better. They are some of the smartest coaches on the planet.”
Casale is a two-day standout for the Broncos. He hit .333 as a junior, ranking second on the team in hits and leading the team in walks. He went 4-2 with a team-best 1.45 ERA over seven appearances including six starts.
“Johnny’s versatility and high baseball IQ are only a small part of what makes him great,” said Garcia. “He's selfless, he’s tough, he’s competitive and most of all he’s a leader. Johnny is someone I can tell all younger players to mimic because you can count on him doing the right thing.”
While planning to major in political science and study law with plans to be a sports agent next year, Casale is looking forward to the season ahead of him at Brophy.
“I am looking forward to another year with all my teammates,” said Casale. “It is going to be awesome playing with the guys I have been playing with since I was 10 years old. I am super blessed and grateful. We have a legitimate chance of going deep in the playoffs.”
He has been preparing for the season to build on his successful junior campaign.
“I have a drive that I want to be the best in all I do and I am a competitive person,” said Casale. “It was not my success that drove me but where I did not do well that has fired me up and motivated me to be the best version of myself. Baseball provides lessons you need to learn and those are how you get good.”
Casale is among seven baseball players who have made collegiate commitments and will participate in the Brophy Collegiate Signing Day celebration on Nov. 8.