Capuchino left-hander Joe Galea went the distance March 14 to shut out Riordan. The junior has helped the Mustangs to five straight wins heading into PAL Ocean play, Tuesday.
With Capuchino entering league play Tuesday riding a five-game winning streak, junior Joe Galea has emerged as a cornerstone southpaw for the Mustangs.
Galea was pivotal in each of Cap’s three wins last week. Over the course of two games on March 11 and 12, he went 4 for 7 at the plate in wins over St. Ignatius and Evergreen Valley. Although he went hitless on March 14 against Riordan, the left-hander got it done on the mound by firing a four-hit shutout.
It’s because of these feats that Galea has been named the San Mateo Daily Journal Athlete of the Week.
“Every time Joe goes out there he’s a competitor,” Capuchino manager Matt Wilson said. “It helps a little bit that you’re under the lights at San Bruno Park with the whole town out there and it’s a [West Coast Athletic League] team. But that’s how Joe is every game. … He’s a competitor and he really showed up.”
With the win, Galea improved his record to 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA. He has worked 22 innings while allowing 11 hits and striking out 26.
Yet the San Bruno native insists his success, and the success of Capuchino in starting the year with an 8-2 record, is because of the outstanding defense behind him.
“Our defense was nails,” Galea said of Cap’s win over Riordan. “Any ball that was hit at somebody or near somebody, they made a play. It wasn’t all me. It is definitely defense that lets our pitchers go seven innings.”
Even though he kept the Crusaders off the scoreboard, Galea worked out of trouble through most of the early innings. In the fifth, Riordan loaded the bases with one out. And when senior Nick Healey skied a shot to center, it looked like Riordan might break it open. However, Cap center fielder Riley Gibbons came streaking in to make a clutch running catch. On the following play, shortstop Rory McDaid wrestled a one-hop seed at his feet to retire the side.
McDaid and Galea figure to be the one-two punch of the Mustangs’ pitching rotation heading into Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division play.
“They’re doing great,” Wilson said of his pitchers. “Our overall ERA as a team is 1.03, which is huge.”
Cap is a tight-knit group, with Galea, McDaid, and Tony Pellegrini having played together since pee-wee baseball at age 9. The three even made a trip to Cooperstown together with the Millbrae Gators when they were 12, with Galea throwing the game of his life, to that point, at the legendary Cooperstown All Star Village to help the Gators to a top 20 finish from a pool of over 100 teams.
Cap got some bad news last week when Pellegrini was lost for the year after undergoing arm surgery. Still, the Mustangs have found a way to keep rolling.
“They were disappointed about last year (finishing 10-15 overall and 4-10 in league),” Wilson said. “And now they have something to prove.”