The Dominion Post  

Galusky back to help lead WVU baseball team

Created on:   Sat, Feb 10, 2018   8:45 PM

Last modified:   Sat, Feb 10, 2018   8:45 PM

The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — Entering his fourth season with the WVU baseball team, Jimmy Galusky is penciled in as the Mountaineers’ opening day shortstop, part of a team loading with experience.

Galusky has been through the grind, watching the program go from being a doormat in the Big 12 when he redshirted, in 2015, to a program hoping to reach a super regional this season.

He went from sitting in the dugout at Hawley Field to playing in what many consider one of the top stadiums in the Big 12, at Monongalia County Ballpark.

“I don’t think some of these guys even know what Hawley Field is,” Galusky joked.

He certainly knows about the former home of the Mountaineers. While he didn’t play an inning there as a college athlete, Galusky started for Morgantown Post 2’s American Legion team that once called Hawley home. He also took the field for Preston High a few times there.

As an Arthurdale native, playing for WVU was a dream for Galusky from a young age. That played a part in his wanting to come back this season, rather than testing the waters professionally.

“I take a lot of pride in wearing the Gold and Blue,” he said. “It’s a big deal to me, and just being from this state, I love playing for West Virginia. My grandparents can sit up and my parents can sit up there and watch every game.”

That doesn’t mean another dream — playing professional baseball — is totally out of his mind, but there is unfinished business with the Mountaineers.

Galusky hit .244 with four home runs and 26 RBIs, average numbers for a middle infielder. He also struck out 56 times to just 22 walks. Defensively, he committed 14 errors and yielding a .937 fielding percentage.

“I’d like to swing it a little better — see some pitches a little better and not strike out as much,” Galusky said. “On defense, I need to keep working hard and get in some early work.

“Overall, I just want to make my game a little better.”

Another role Galusky will step into this season is with his leadership. While a majority of the lineup returns, major holes were left at first base, third base and left field with the losses of Jackson Cramer, Cole Austin and Kyle Davis.

While no de facto starter has been named at any of those three spots, players will get looks when the Mountaineers head south next weekend for the season opener, against Jacksonville State. After the first series, WVU will stay in the warmer weather, playing in Conway, S.C., in the Brittain Resorts Invitational, for three days, and will then play at Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech.

WVU’s home opener is March 16, against Canisius.

With a month’s worth of road games, showing the younger players how to handle the early grind is something Galusky hopes to do. The Mountaineers started 8-7 last year during that stretch.

“We open up on the road every year and it’s tough,” he said. “For freshmen coming in, they don’t really know what to expect and we’re going to need some of them to start. We need to get their feet under them, but it will help them down the stretch.”

Galusky and the Mountaineers open their season at 6 p.m. Feb. 16.