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Making the transition

March 29, 2018

 

Preslee Gallaway took the road less traveled by in becoming one of the premier pitchers in the Conference USA

 

Gallaway named a 2nd Team All-Conference USA selection as a sophomore, while leading the Lady Techsters to a C-USA Championship and an NCAA Regional appearance. – Photo by Donny Crowe

 

ANDREW BELL
Sports Editor | agb022@latech.edu

 

From a single Division I scholarship offer to one of the best pitchers in her conference: that’s the transition Louisiana Tech junior pitcher Preslee Gallaway has made during her time as a Lady Techster, and she is not done yet.

 

The former 2nd Team All-Conference USA selection is from Pilot Point, Texas and attended Pilot Point High School. She found herself considering Tech in her recruitment process in 2015, after being recruited at the infamous Ronald McDonald Tournament in Texas. She then attended a hitting clinic put on by none other than Tech head coach Mark Montgomery to solidify her interest.

 

“When I got there, he told me he really liked my swing,” Gallaway said. “After that, he told me I should come on a visit. Later on, I found out that he was actually watching me at the Ronald McDonald Tournament during my specific game. So then I came and looked at the campus and it just made me feel at home on the first visit and that was that.”

 

Gallaway was recruited as a utility player after mainly playing third base and shortstop in high school. Little did she know, huge changes were to come after Tech pitching coach Mike Forsythe noticed something while watching her practice.

 

“I think it was the first or second practice at Tech,” Gallaway said. “It was the first time Forsythe was trying to look and see what I had, and once he saw that he could build onto what I had and better me as a pitcher, he realized that I had a lot of drive to just want to be on the field.”

 

Forsythe saw potential in Gallaway as a pitcher, but noticed one flaw that, if solved, could allow Gallaway to blossom on the mound.

 

“What Forsythe saw was a kid who had a mechanical issue that, if she fixed it, could really go forward,” head coach Mark Montgomery said. “She had great forearm strength and power but she didn’t have finish or follow-through. She stopped all of her pitches early. So what (Forsythe) said was to get her to do that, she’s going to have to take a couple of steps backwards in order to go forward.”

 

In order for Gallaway to make progress as a pitcher, she was going to have to change what she had been doing her entire playing career, but she was up to the task.

 

“A lot of kids don’t risk taking that step backwards,” Montgomery said. “Well, Preslee thrived. She just really went to work and bought in. Her adjustment period was much less than another kid’s would be. All of a sudden she we went from pitching 61 or 62 miles an hour to pitching 67 or 68 by her third year.”

 

During Gallaway’s freshman year, she had a 3.43 ERA, struck out a team 2nd-best 65 batters and had a 9-3 record, while still batting in 12 games and recording a .308 batting average. After making the transition to a full-time pitcher as a sophomore, she burst onto the scene with a team high 146 strikeouts, 16 wins and 170.2 innings pitched with a 2.58 ERA. Her emergence also helped the team make a jump, winning the 2017 C-USA Championship and appearing in an NCAA Regional.

 

“Everybody on this team tries to be the best they can be for the team as a whole,” Gallaway said. “So with me going into the pitching aspect of it, if it’s going to help my team, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

 

Gallaway’s persistence and work ethic has garnered respect from not only her coaches but her fellow teammates, like sophomore catcher Marilyn Rizzato.

 

“Preslee is really just the type of person where she’s going to get what she needs to get done, and she’s going to get it done as fast as she can,” Rizzato said. “It almost builds my confidence catching (for) her, because she looks so fierce and looks like she’s going to get everyone out just because she believes it, and that makes the team believe it. She’s just the definition of hard work and getting the job done. That’s Preslee.”

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