OLIVIA GALATI CONTINUES TO BEAT THE ODDS AS PRO CAREER BEGINS
Added by Bob Whitney on June 13, 2013.
Photo via GoHofstra.com
You’ve heard it said many times before – doesn’t quite fit the mold of your classic elite athlete. Well, for West Babylon, NY native and Hofstra University All American softball pitcher Olivia Galati she broke the mold.
Galati did it with a combination of hard work, steely-eyed determination and a passion to succeed in a sport she has so dearly loved since she first entered kindergarten.
At a mere 5’5’’, Galati is know where near the size of the elite pitchers competing at the NCAA Division 1 college level, such as Oklahoma’s Keilani Ricketts (6’2”), Tennessee’s Renfroe sisters, Ellen and Ivy (6’), and Alabama’s Leslie Jury (6’).
“For sure, I was anything but the classic tall, lanky-type pitcher with the big arc,” said the Hofstra University physical education major in a recent phone interview. “I had to look for other ways to compensate for my size.
“Looking back, I think I accomplished that.”
Galati was able to rise to the elite level and overcome long odds with an insatiable desire to do whatever it takes to succeed.
“Growing up, I just hated to lose at anything I did,” Galati said. “It was a combination of being all in and never giving up until I had the results I was looking for.”
Galati’s formative years could be considered normal. Like many youngsters across the country, she participated in a variety of youth sports, until she decided that softball would be her sport of choice.
“I started playing in the town softball league,” said Galati. “I think I had my first pitching lesson when I was 8 or 9 years old. I decided to concentrate on softball just before I started middle school.”
It was this early and fortuitous decision to focus on softball and her amazing drive to succeed at all costs that enabled Galati to have a storied career at St. John the Baptist High School, in Bay Shore, New York. She led her high school team to three New York State championships while being named the Gatorade New York State Player of the Year in her senior season.
Galati ended her high school career with a 63-12 won/loss record and an eye-popping 0.19 ERA.
“My Dad (Nick) played a huge role in my early development as a softball pitcher,” said Galati, who plans to teach and coach when she is finished with her softball career. “He helped set up the pitching lessons and stuff like that. He taught me the value of hard work and preparation, particularly mental preparation.”
Galati chose to matriculate at Hofstra University and it was a decision that she will never regret as she will go down in history as the greatest pitcher in the history of Hofstra softball.
Galati just capped an outstanding collegiate career by leading the NCAA in wins this past year with a 40-12 record. She was a first team All America selection in her junior year and a second team pick in her senior season.
Galati used an assortment of pitches, that she has tediously honed over the years, to record 395 strikeouts in 341 innings pitched.
“I have six pitches – hi and low rise, change, screwball, knuckle and a drop/curve.” She finished the year with a 1.42 ERA and limited the opposition to a paltry .181 BA.
This past season Galati led the Pride to the CAA conference championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA sub-regional tournament, which was held at the University of Missouri.
In the CAA tournament, Galati added to her legacy by pitching the first-ever perfect game in conference history.
“The physical training (5:00 a.m. workouts) and preparation has really paid off,” said Galati. “I developed my physical and mental stamina which allowed me to compete at a high level.”
Galati’s opponents in the CAA are not too disappointed that she will no longer be in the circle.
University of Delaware head coach Jaime Wohlbach offers high praise, “I have had the opportunity to play and coach at every level and Olivia is truly one of the best I’ve seen. She is a true athlete, role model and future ambassador for the sport of softball. She should have a great pro career.
“Actually, I am glad that she has graduated.”
Speaking of pro career, Galati was recently made the top draft choice by the New York/New Jersey Comets of the National Pro Fastpitch league.
Galati started her pro career in an inauspicious way by allowing a walk-off home run in a relief appearance in her debut against the Florida-based USSSA Pride. It was the June 9 season opener for both teams.
Galati bounced-back the next day, in her first starting appearance, as she fired a nifty five-hitter in eight innings of work in the circle to pick up her first-ever win as a professional.
The pro career is a new beginning for the West Babylon, New York native, but in another way, it is just another step on the ladder to continued success in a sport she so dearly loves.
Olivia Galati has beaten the odds to become one of the most successful softball pitchers in recent memory and one can assume that there will be much more to come before Galati’s brilliant career comes to an end and her legacy is secure.