TAMPA, Fla. — With a baseball family in his corner, Brandon Gali has found success with the University of Tampa.
Gali had a close circle of a role models from whom he received mentorship and inspiration in learning the game and finding a passion to pursue it.
“My dad played so it just kind off runs in the family,” said Gali, prior to the club’s Wednesday home game. “So you know he put a glove and a bat in my hand and I’ve been playing ever since.”
Gali’s father played for the University of South Florida and his godfather is former Major League infielder Orestes Destrade.
The young infielder has attended a few baseball games with Destrade and learning the game from a different perspective has influenced his style of play as a shortstop.
University of Tampa coach Joe Urso agrees that Gali was raised in an atmosphere to be successful on the baseball field.
“Your shortstop kind of has to be that leader on the field, another coach on the field, and with his background he is definitely that kind of player,” said Urso, who has guided the program to five National Championships.”
Gali majors in sports management and minors in communications, which has proved to be beneficial in his game.
“It has helped in a sense of learning behind the scenes in the sports industry and being able to play … It has opened up my eyes.”
Gali has been to three schools in the past four years to make improvements in his baseball career. He spent his first two years at Polk State College and spent the last season at the University of Miami.
Despite changing schools, he has been able to use his past experience to his advantage for the University of Tampa.
“Polk was a big learning ground for me,” he said. “Junior college is a real humbling experience.”
Urso said Gali’s game has been strong defensively and his baseball IQ is evident.
“He has really good speed and creates a lot of trouble for the opposition. Once he gets on base he had a couple more stolen bases last night and has great range at shortstop.”
Gali admits it was tough to manage both school and sports. However, it was his teammates who gave him the motivation to carry on.
“It’s always good to have a team that supports you so if you ever need help these guys are always there for you.”