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Athlete of the Week: Tokay's Galletti chose location over velocity in no-hitter

Apr. 11—As discussion bubbles up at all levels of baseball about the pursuit of velocity and the damage done to pitchers' arms, Joey Galletti has his own way of working on the mound.

The Tokay High senior focuses on location over radar gun numbers, with a fastball somewhere in the mid-70s in miles per hour, and a curveball and a changeup to complement it.

"My dad always taught me to not chase velocity, just to spot the ball," Galletti said. "And I didn't get taught to throw a curveball until my freshman year."

That location paid off in the opener of last week's Tri-City Athletic League series against West, when Galletti spun a no-hitter in a 10-0 victory on April 1. Galletti finished with 10 strikeouts and improved his record to 3-0.

"The whole team, everyone was positive, we were having a good game," Galletti said. "And if we keep up this energy we should have a pretty good season."

The right-hander has made two relief appearances and three starts this season, allowing runs in only one of those appearances for an earned-run average of 1.00.

The only thing keeping Galletti away from a perfect game on April 1 was a single walk — and Tokay coach Scott Campbell doesn't necessarily place the blame for that on Galletti's shoulders.

Midway through the game, Galletti came up limping after trying to reach base on a bunt attempt. Campbell got a reliever up in the bullpen just in case, and that's when Campbell says somebody mentioned the perfect game, but to everybody's consternation.

"You know how baseball is with the whole luck of everything and the jinxing of things," Campbell said. "...That inning was the one with the catch."

Every no-hitter seems to have that play that feels like it's going to end the no-hit bid, a sure base knock that someone manages to get to. That inning, a West batter launched a high fly ball deep to right field, where Blake Goen chased it down for a tumbling, over-the-shoulder catch.

"My heart sunk. I just laid down for a second, I tipped my hat, he gave me a tip of the hat back," Galletti said. "Iwas going to be very upset if he didn't get it. But it felt good."

Campbell has relished the growth of his senior ace, whose baseball journey started in the driveway at 3 years old hitting baseballs off a traffic cone.

"Joey's been working really hard for four years to keep improving as a baseball player. Last year as a junior, bumping up to varsity is always a challenge for these guys, and he battled through some adversity last year and become a much more comfortable player," Campbell said. "Early on this year he expressed how much more comfortable he was as a varsity player, and obviously when you feel comfortable, your rate of success goes up. That's what we're seeing, is it's starting to become fruitful, and that's what we saw last week."