Prep Baseball

Gallinatti a defensive stalwart behind the plate for Valpo

2012-05-31T20:00:00Z 2012-06-21T16:26:08Z Gallinatti a defensive stalwart behind the plate for ValpoBy Jim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com

Sweat, dirt, equipment, foul tips.

There's nothing glamorous about being a catcher, but Joe Gallinatti loves every minute of it.

"I like to be involved in every pitch. I don't like to wait around," the Valparaiso senior said. "You have to be a leader. In football, I played safety. You're always waiting for the big hit. I like the physical aspect of (catching)."

Back in second grade or so, Gallinatti's Denims team needed someone to catch Garrett Walter, now at South Central.

"They called him 'Babe,'" Gallinatti said. "Nobody could catch him. I said I'd try it."

Catching has been his position from that day forward.

"He's tough," said Valpo coach Dave Coyle, who also knows Gallinatti from football and his marine biology class. "He's gets hit with balls and bats. He'll catch a doubleheader and he doesn’t blink. He doesn't take a play off. He just doesn't stop. He's a captain on the field. He tells the defense what needs to be done. I love him."

Gallinatti took over as varsity backstop last year and quickly developed a reputation for being a wall.

"It's coach (Chad) Evans' goal every game for there to be no passed balls," he said. "He doesn't care how high, low, outside. If I can touch it, I should get it. If there's an 0-2 and the pitcher wants to throw a curve ball in the dirt, I want him to trust me to block the ball. I want them to know they can feel safe throwing anything they want."

Quickness and familiarity with the pitching staff, many of whom Gallinatti has played baseball with for years, help, too.

"If I know the pitcher, I kind of know what's going to happen," he said. "I've caught them for a long time. That's why it's so much fun. I've known them all from summer ball. Our morale is great. It's so much fun practicing with them every day."

In addition to his defensive prowess, Gallinatti has progressed into a potent middle-of-the-order hitter. He leads the team with a .404 average and 31 RBIs and is second in runs scored (31).

"We worked on shortening his stride, sitting back and waiting," Coyle said. "He's seeing the ball so well. Being a catcher, he knows a lot of times what the pitchers are going to do."

Gallinatti, who blasted a grand slam off Chesterton's Jake Post in the sectional, also credits Scott Elrich, Ralph Bufano and Chris Smith -- his coaches with the Indiana Breakers -- for helping him with his swing and his mental approach at the plate.

"It's like night and day," Gallinatti said. "There was a lot of behind-the-scenes work at The Barn. I'd get so mad at myself. You have to be patient. It's going to come when it comes."

The list of colleges recruiting Gallinatti include Western Michigan, Illinois State and Chicago State.

"Wherever he goes, they're going to get a diamond, the kind of worker like they've never seen before," Coyle said. "I was laughing at the (awards) banquet, my life has been filled with Gallinattis for years. There's one more left. That's going to be a sad day. They're all competitors. They don't understand the word quit. Just a great family, great parents (Tony and Dawn)."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best football team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses