Mount Sinai’s Matt Galli walked onto his home mound facing a pressure-packed situation. Here he was, taking the ball with two outs in the top of the sixth inning, his team ahead by three runs in the late stages of a winner-take-all championship game against Shoreham-Wading River.
It was the kind of situation that could cause a pitcher to wilt. And, even through initial adversity, Galli responded the way all his teammates knew he would – like a champion. He pitched the final 1 1/3 innings in relief to earn the save, helping host Mount Sinai to a 4-1 victory in the Suffolk Conference V baseball championship game Friday afternoon.
Mount Sinai will face the winner of Island Trees/Clarke game at 11 a.m Sunday in the Conference V Long Island Championship Game at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.
"I have the utmost confidence in Matt Galli," Mount Sinai coach Eric Reichenbach said. "I’ve used him in these spots all year long, and all year long that kid has come through. That kid oozes confidence on the mound."
Galli walked the first batter he faced, starting pitcher Billy Steele, to force in the first Wildcat run, but then induced a deep flyout from Liam Bowes to get out of the inning with Mount Sinai’s multi-run lead intact.
"I knew that that’s a big stick in their lineup," Galli said. "I had to throw strikes. I couldn’t walk another one in, so that was a really tough situation. He just happened to miss his barrel, which was great."
Galli and Bowes played travel baseball together two years ago. The two still speak, Galli said.
"It’s definitely a rivalry," Galli said.
Galli contributed with his bat as well. His two-run single in the third gave Mount Sinai a 3-0 lead.
"[Steele] got ahead with the first strike," Galli said of his single. "I don’t really like [being] behind in the count. He threw me a curveball for a ball and at that moment I knew he was coming fastball next pitch. He threw it in the zone, I barreled it, and it worked out perfectly."
Mount Sinai starter Dan Kellachan threw 5 2/3 innings, allowed one run, six hits and struck out four. He wiggled out of a few jams himself. In the second inning, he escaped a two-on, none-out jam by striking out two and getting a groundout. Then, he got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the third with a strikeout and a groundout. Lastly, in the fifth he figured his way out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam by forcing a flyout to deep right field.
"I was putting my curveball in the zone really well," Kellachan said. "I just attacked with the fastball. I didn’t throw a lot of balls today."