Arthurdale Native Discusses Mindset Heading Into NCAA Regional
By Brian McCracken
On Friday afternoon West Virginia’s baseball program will officially end a 21 year postseason drought when it takes on Maryland in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
While each and every player on WVU’s 35 man roster has put countless hours into making an NCAA tournament berth a reality, there is one player who holds a deeper understanding of just how much the feat means to Mountaineer baseball fans: sophomore shortstop Jimmy Galusky.
Galusky, who grew up in nearby Arthurdale, spent his childhood cheering on West Virginia and often made the half hour commute to Hawley Field to see his beloved Mountaineers play. Fast forward to 2017 and he is doing something most local kids dream of – representing his hometown school while playing the sport he loves.
Over the past two seasons he has made a name for himself as one of the Big 12’s best defensive shortstops, but it’s his offense that has wowed spectators as of late. Batting 7-for-13 (a .538 average) in the Big 12 tournament, Galusky played an integral role in solidifying a spot in the postseason for the Mountaineers. Now as he prepares to play in the program’s biggest game in over two decades, it’s hard for him to explain just what it means to be a part of it all.
“Growing up here I have always been a West Virginia fan. I see everyone who sits there and watches us play and I have always been one of them. Now I’m the guy who everyone watches. It’s a big deal to me and I don’t even know how to put it into words.
“I think it’s awesome for the program. It hasn’t happened in 21 years and we have been taking steps toward the future. I think it’s a good deal for us”
While it’s easy to focus on the feel good nature of the story, it’s evident that the third year sophomore is dialed in on helping the Mountaineers remain focused and he will continue to play with an edge going forward.
“We played with a chip on our shoulder this year because of last year,” Galusky said, referencing 2016’s selection day snub. “We played against some of the best teams in the country in our conference and that will help us out when we get down there. We kept that chip on our shoulder and it got us to the postseason.”
That chip enabled West Virginia to hold its own in the country’s No.1 rated RPI conference despite injuries to the No.2 and No.3 pitcher in its rotation. Now WVU enters the Winston Salem regional as a No.2 seed and will have to continue to fight through adversity if it hopes to survive and advance. While many have already pegged Wake Forest to move on, don’t be surprised if the Mountaineers make some noise over the weekend.
While it’s certainly a feel good story, Galusky and the Mountaineers aren’t ready for it to be over just yet.