Sports

Taking one for the team

The numbers don’t lie and a quick glance at Amanda Galla’s, both on the softball field and in the classroom, reveal a well-defined and solid future.

But things have a funny way of working out, and the South Kitsap senior is finding that out the hard way.

As her high-school graduation rapidly approaches, she can only sit and wonder what the future will bring. With her prep career now complete and most of her senior teammates having already accepted college scholarships, Galla sits in limbo, trying to figure out what went wrong and what she can do now to make things right.

“Right now, I just want things to work out,” Galla said. “I just want to stay in school so I don’t get into that whole ‘I’ll just do it next year’ kind of thing.”

The problem is simple, really. Despite possessing all the tools, the desire and grades to play college fastpitch, she is getting passed over by schools she wants to attend and is forced instead to choose between schools that either don’t offer the core curriculum of her chosen major, athletic medicine, or can’t offer her the money she needs to attend.

It’s a sad truth, considering that Galla, who was the team’s statistical pitching leader last year, ended up taking a diminished role this year in the hopes of helping South advance to the state playoffs.

With Galla at first base and fellow senior Brittany Miller on the mound, the Wolves were a formidable opponent for anyone. And everyone involved, including Galla, agreed that lineup gave South the best chance to win.

“I thought it would be kind of like a rotation schedule where she’d pitch a game and I’d pitch a game, kind of like that,” Galla said. “And it was, but it seemed like she had more of the tough games and I had none. It was hard at first, but I got used to it. I got used to it and just tried to focus on other things.”

Still, she managed to post a 6-1 pitching record, allowing 27 hits and just five walks in 43 innings of work while striking out 49 batters on her way to an earned run average of 0.81.

Galla also carried a .386 batting average, while driving in five runs as the leadoff batter for the 19-2 Wolves. She drew 14 walks to give her an on-base percentage of .488.

Off the field, Galla’s quiet but confident personality produced a grade point average of 3.2 while taking such classes as advanced athletic medicine and spending countless hours at the school as a student trainer, working with both the football and girls’ basketball teams.

Offers did come, like the one from Olympic College early in the season and one from Wenatchee Valley later.

Pacific Luthern has shown some interest lately.

OC’s offer is nice, but the school doesn’t have an athletic medicine program. Wenatchee Valley has a good AM program but its offer is just not enough for Galla to afford to move and live there.

PLU would be a great place to play and attend school, she said, but the $27,000 a year price tag is way too much for her family to afford.

“Financially, it’s very hard — we have five kids,” said Amanda’s mother, Kathy Garcia. “In retrospect, we probably could have played the game a little better. We could have sent colleges some video tape, statistics, things like that. Things that you find out after the fact — you have to sell your kid because they’re not all out there coming after her.

“That frustrates me because we didn’t do more to market her,” Garcia said. “But we’ll get her there somehow. Her dreams will come true.”

OC has been actively pursuing the left-handed pitcher but she was reluctant to sign too early, instead hoping a deep playoff run would enable her to catch the eye of other scouts during the state playoffs. But South’s quick exit from the West-Central District tournament and the abrupt end to its season may have cost Galla more than anyone.

“That’s one of the most frustrating things, because I know there are people out there looking, thinking that we were going to be there and we’re not,” Galla said. “I didn’t sign with OC yet because I knew the season was going well and I was waiting and seeing what else there was. But nothing else came up.”

So now she sits and waits and wonders while teammates like Miller, Stephanie Mott and Jievielyn Howard have been signed.

“I think it’s good for them and I’m happy that they can do it,” Galla said. “I just wish it would work out like that for me. If it turns out to be a wasted year, then so be it. But as long as I’m still in there learning stuff, it’s OK.”

In a perfect world, Galla said she would attend Wenatchee for two years and then transfer to Eastern Washington University to continue studying AM and playing ball. But for now, she is open to just about anything.

“She’s had a lot of this — a lot of ups and downs,” Garcia said. “She’s had a lot of roller coasters.

“She’s a team player,” Garcia said. “She’s been playing ball since she was six years old. So when the coach says you’re at first base, you’re at first base. She’s always been brought up like that and she would never complain about where she was put.”

As long she gets put somewhere.

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