South Florida slugger is leading the way

Alexa Galligani has settled in to the top of the order

Alexa Galligani poses on the outside of the dugout with her right arm leaning on the fence
Alexa Galligani leads the USF Bulls women's softball team in hits and runs scored  

TAMPA, Fla.-  Batting leadoff is all about finding the balance between being aggressive and passive.

In sophomore Alexa Galligani, the University of South Florida’s Bulls softball team has found one of the best in the division at towing the line between the two.

During her freshman season in 2023, Galligani struggled adjusting to the college game, batting .197 with a .561 OPS in 36 appearances for the Bulls.

In 2024, Galligani has made herself indispensable in the lineup by leading the team in hits (21) and runs scored (11).

“I’m definitely relaxed at the plate, but I’m also aggressive at the same time. You know I like to swing at the first pitch a lot,” Galligani said. “I don’t like to get behind in the count; I like to be the aggressive one.”

After growing up and spending her high school years in White Plains, N.Y, where she was named League Player of the Season three times, Galligani found that the freshman gap can be a lot for players coming into their new system, which can lead to a lack of confidence.

“When you deal with a lot of success in high school and prior to coming to college, there’s a bunch of different changes and challenges that you have to endure,” she said. “I think once you get over that, especially by sophomore (year), you get comfortable and you have confidence in yourself you’ll play very well.”

This confidence was an integral piece missing in Galligani’s game last year which head coach Ken Eriksen has instilled in her.

“Ken has taught me a lot of things. Obviously he has a lot of experience being here for 1,100 wins. Last year was a little hard for me with confidence and he’s instilled a lot of confidence in me and in my ability,” she said.

Galligani went a combined 2-for-6 in a doubleheader against Villanova on March 4, which saw Eriksen pick up his milestone 1,100th win during the opener of a two-game sweep.

When asked about what the thought was putting Galligani in the leadoff spot this season, Eriksen had high praise for the sophomore.

Bulls head coach Ken Eriksen has high praise for his leadoff hitter

“She’s such a pure hitter, you know one of the most pure hitters I’ve seen in a long, long time. She has a great eye at the plate,” he said. “You know that leadoff spot comes up more than any other spot, right? You’re going to try and put your best hitter up there and you’re going to try and get your best hitter into the game as many times as you can.

“Alexa’s a competitor, great bloodlines that she has, her dad played ball in the Oakland A’s organization and she knows the game. She’s a cool cat so no matter who we’re playing, no matter the velocity, no matter the movement,  you know she’s a tough kid.”

Marcel Galligani, Alexa’s father, was drafted in the ninth round of the 1992 Major League Baseball  Amateur Draft by the Oakland Athletics, spending three seasons with the organization. He now runs a baseball and softball development camp called Hit-N-Run Baseball in White Plains.

Marcel also is Alexa’s biggest fan and has played a massive part in getting her to where she is today with the Bulls.

“He’s taught me everything I know and he’s my biggest supporter,” she said. “He instills the most confidence in me and I’m just really grateful to have him here when he shows up to my games. It means everything to me.”

One might think that having a parent who played any sport at a high level and trying to follow in their footsteps would be a challenge. The younger Galligani feels quite the opposite.

“Honestly, it’s amazing. A lot of people would think he’s hard on me but he’s not, he’s my biggest supporter,” she  said. “Obviously, playing the game, he knows there’s a lot of failures, and not everyday is going to be your best day, but he just instills that confidence in me to come out here and play my best and give it my all every day. I know my ability and I’m going to make the best out of it.” 

Hit-N-Run is offering its annual summer camp to children in the White Plains area later this July.  Galligani will be volunteering and hanging out as she normally does. 

“It’s nice to see a lot of the kids that I would see before and seeing their brothers and sisters that I used to play with as they came up through the program,” she said. “It creates a sense of community and family in White Plains back at home.”

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Posted: Mar 8 2024 6:26 pm
Filed under: Softball Sports