Gallo slugs Gaels back to top

To say that Bishop Gorman junior Joey Gallo takes a big swing might be an understatement.

And Gallo’s mighty hacks led to big results this spring, as he led the Gaels to their sixth consecutive Class 4A state baseball crown.

Gallo blasted 25 home runs along the way, and for his efforts was named the Class 4A state player of the year by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"Everyone knows he takes a big swing," Gorman coach Nick Day said. "But his level of consistency with that swing is what makes him so dangerous. You have a guy like that who can leave the park on any given at-bat, it’s obviously huge for your team.

"I’ve never seen anything like it."

Gallo batted .471 with 78 RBIs and 64 runs in helping the Gaels to a 35-4 record. Of his 57 hits, 34 went for extra bases as he posted a 1.198 slugging percentage.

In three games at the state tournament, Gallo was 5-for-10 with two homers and eight RBIs.

"His power is ridiculous," Day said. "And that’s the thing, he doesn’t even have to get all of it to hit it out of the park.

"The times when he does get all of it, it’s really something to see."

The 6-foot-5-inch, 205-pound Gallo bounced around the infield this spring, seeing time at third base, shortstop and first base.

"He can play anywhere," Day said. "We even put him in left field one game, and he made a diving catch out in left field. He may be the best we have at all those positions."

Gallo also has a big arm to go with the big power. Day said Gallo consistently throws 90 to 95 mph, and he sometimes appears to throw even harder on the infield than he does off the mound.

"His arm strength is great," Day said. "That’s the first thing the scouts noticed with him. A lot of people projected him as a pitcher. But in the last two years, he’s covering up a lot of holes he had in his swing to where it’s pretty dangerous to pitch him anywhere."

Day said that improvement at the plate means that many now see Gallo as a third baseman in the future. Day thinks Gallo might even be able to stick at shortstop despite his size.

"He’s incredibly athletic for his size, and I think a lot of people don’t realize that," Day said. "He has great hands and reads hops really well. He’s really coordinated and athletic for his size."

With Gorman’s deep pitching staff, Gallo didn’t spend much time on the mound, though he was 3-1 with a 1.12 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings.

"He’ll play a bigger role on the mound next year for sure," Day said. "We tried to use him as kind of a closer this year, but we got such great production that we didn’t use a closer so much.

"Next year I’m sure he’ll play a bigger role and be one of our top three starters."

Gallo’s 25 homers are the second-most in state history, according to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association record book. His 78 RBIs tied a state record set by former teammate Johnny Field in 2010.

"The good thing about Joey is he really wants to win, and that’s what comes first to him, so he’ll do anything he can to win," Day said.

Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587.

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