By Angelo BrussichSPORTS EDITOR
A perfect game? Check. A no-hitter? Check. National recognition that includes being a No. 2 overall draft pick? Check. All in a two-week span? Check. One could say that Hofstra Pride softball senior pitcher Olivia Galati has had an eventful couple of weeks.
But all of this has come to be the norm for Galati, who warms up as the weather changes from winter to spring and becomes a near unhittable force on the mound.
“You get a feel for playing outside, the weather starts to get nicer, you get to see different teams and different batters in the box, so it all comes together,” said Galati. “I think once we start to play a lot of games in a row and you have so many competitions throughout the week you kind of get into a groove, team wise and individual wise.”
Galati is a workhorse. The Pride is now 27–10 on the season, 10–1 in Colonial Athletic Association play and she has a record of 24–9. This isn’t new for Galati, who already holds the Prides record for most innings pitched at 946, and has 137 complete games for her career.
“It sure makes it easy for a coaching staff, every time that you put her on the mound, regardless of who you’re playing, you’re in the game and you have a shot at winning the game,” said Hofstra head coach Bill Edwards.
For most pitchers, a no-hitter is a big deal, and a perfect game would be a momentous achievement, then there’s Galati.
Her most recent one came against Drexel University on Sunday, April 7, where Galati compiled 13 strikeouts in route to a 13–0 win. That was her second no-hitter of the week, and later that day she pitched again in the second half of the doubleheader. She gave up one hit.
Galati now has three perfect games throughout her career at Hofstra, add to that her other no-hitter from the week, and the power pitcher has pushed her record for no-hitters to 10 in the Pride blue and gold.
Yet with all of the times that she’s no-hit the other team, Galati still falls back on old school ball-playing superstitions to help get her through the game and keep her from getting too hyped up.
“I’m very superstitious,” said Galati. “Everyone tries to not talk about it, even if we know what’s going on, whatever inning it is, we don’t mention it.”
Galati is rewriting the Hofstra record books as she continues to dazzle on the mound. Her records now include the most no-hitters, most innings pitched, most strikeouts at 1,260 (and climbing) and 110 wins (also, still climbing.)
For Galati, who grew up watching the Pride and remembers her parent’s bringing her to watch games at Hofstra, having such a successful career is a dream come true.
“It’s incredible to grow up watching this team and this program develop over the years, and then to come here and play for them… I just, I don’t know, I have no words for it,” said Galati. “All I can do is smile when I think about it.”
For Edwards, this comes as no surprise that Galati has had such success. Pitching is vital in softball, and a pitcher like Galati is truly a game changer.
“This game, they say pitching is 70 percent of the game but in softball pitching is probably 99.9 percent of the game and if you have that pitcher that can go 99.9 percent of the time and is giving you a good game, you’re going to be in the game regardless of who you’re playing,” said Edwards. “So it’s great to have her on the mound obviously.”
She’s well on her way to her third 300-plus strikeout season, while holding opposing batters to a .192 batting average and leads all pitchers in innings pitched this year.
Then another pleasant surprise came about for the Hofstra star when the New York/New Jersey Comets of the National Pro Fastpitch league chose her second overall in the college draft.
Although she knew she might be drafted, going so early to a local team couldn’t have been more perfect.
“It was like it was fate, it really was,” said Galati with a chuckle. “That was pretty cool, coach [Edwards] had mentioned that I was going to be, or had the possibility, of being drafted but I didn’t know when or by whom, so it was shocking and I was really humbled by it.”
She has intentions of playing for the Comets, and will be the seventh professional player in Hofstra softball program history.
But before all that can happen, Galati finds herself leading a Pride team that had just come off its greatest season in terms of the NCAA Tournament. Hofstra came up just short of the College World Series after falling in the Super Regional’s to the South Florida Bulls.
This served as motivation for the pitcher, who came to Hofstra with the goal of helping her team get to the women’s College World Series; it’s first in program history.
“It’s been a dream of everyone’s since they were six years old,” said Galati. “We were so close, just a hit away, so if we can continue to play the way that we’ve been playing and get back there, get that key hit, it’s going to be a feeling that we don’t know yet because we haven’t been there, but we’re all going to be pretty excited.”
Being a senior this is the last ride for Galati, and her last chance to achieve her goal she set when first walked into Hofstra four years ago. But questions arise as this year’s team tries to prove that last year was no fluke and that the Hofstra softball program is one to be reckoned with.
Does this team have what it needs to get over the hump and succeed where last year’s team came up just short? For Galati, that answer is a resounding yes… but the ever-superstitious star had to knock on fake wood before she said anything.
“Absolutely, we have, not to jinx it, knock on wood, we have really good chemistry,” said Galati. “Everybody is really seeing the ball well, hitting and playing great defense so we have all of the components we just have to stay at that level and continue to maintain.”
Last year’s team rode the wave of a 20 game winning streak that pushed them to the Super Regional’s, with Galati sparkling with a 33–5 record and a Division I leading 0.91 ERA. They upset No. 12 UCLA and took the college world by storm.
If the Pride hopes to make another run, they’re going to have to rely again on the mighty pitching arm of Galati to get them through, a tall task for any player to be asked to carry their team on their back.
But for Galati, it’s all in a day’s work.