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Galloway signs to play baseball at FDTC

Posted: December 26, 2016 10:31 a.m.
Updated: December 27, 2016 1:00 a.m.

LUGOFF-ELGIN’S CHASE GALLOWAY signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and baseball-playing pursuits at Florence-Darlington Technical College while flanked by his parents, Lisa and Mark Galloway. Standing, from left, are L-E athletic director Matt Campbell, Galloway’s younger sister, Lauren Galloway, his grandparents, Don and Jean Hopkins, L-E head baseball coach Randy Stokes and L-E principal Worth Thomasson.

Getting called up to the varsity squad as a freshman can be a heady occasion for a young athlete. For Chase Galloway, his promotion to join the upperclassmen with the Lugoff-Elgin baseball team ended up humbling him.

Rather than sulking around, hanging his head and wondering why he was watching from the dugout while his older teammates played in the games, the Demon catcher decided to do something about his plight.

Having worked on everything from firming his body to changing his mechanics both at the plate and behind the plate, Galloway worked his way into the starting lineup as a sophomore. Now a senior at L-E, the 5-11, 225-pounder brought his high school career full circle as he signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and baseball careers at Florence-Darlington Technical College.

Galloway, who will be the starting catcher for the third season for Randy Stokes’ squad when the season opens in the spring, struck a serious tone when asked about the trials and tribulations of a young man who went from being a junior varsity starter one day to being relegated to chasing foul balls for the varsity the next.

“I got frustrated, a lot,” Galloway said of joining L-E’s 2014 varsity squad which made their way into the 4A Lower State playoffs.

“My freshman year, I wasn’t playing a lot (on varsity) and I was used to playing on jayvee. When I got moved up to varsity, I ended up sitting on the bench.”

Stokes admitted that Galloway was brought up as an insurance policy at catcher as a freshman but the Demon boss also was looking to get the youngster used to being in the varsity environment.

The first change for Galloway --- even before he could find his way onto the field --- came via the weight room as well as the maturation process, in general. When the Demons convened for pre-season practice for the 2014 campaign, Stokes and others involved with the program noticed a leaner and more determined Galloway who was focused on locking down the starting catcher’s job.

“Chase has done such a good job of changing his physical appearance,” Stokes said. “When he was a little bit younger, he was like a lot of kids who hadn’t gotten in the weight room and their body hadn’t changed, yet. Chase really got in there and worked hard and changed how he looks.

“If you had seen him as a freshman, you probably wouldn’t be able to recognize him now. As a sophomore, he jumped in and caught about every night and he did a really good job for us.”

In the time between his freshman and sophomore year, Galloway had shed 30 pounds. He became more flexible. The weight loss and toning his body helped with every aspect of his game including his being quicker on the base paths, with the bat and with his footwork behind the dish. Still, though, he was a first-time varsity starter and he had his share of ups and downs as a sophomore.

“My sophomore year,” Galloway said of his development into a full-time varsity starter, “I made a lot of errors but in my junior year, I got a lot better. (It was) just a lot of reps and all the coaches helping me get better. The more I played, the better I got.”

Before his junior season, Galloway went and received extra help on his hitting. The summer and fall instruction led to his deconstructing every part of his offensive game. “Everything changed to the way I approached and thought about hitting,” he said of his offensive transformation.

The extra work paid off to the tune of Galloway becoming a force in the middle of the batting order for the Demons in 2016. He hit at a .333 clip with three double, a pair of home runs while driving in 14 runs.

Both coach and players expect those numbers to climb in Galloway’s final high school campaign.

“He had some good offensive spurts for us last year and we’re looking for a consistent offensive year from Chase this spring,” Stokes said. “

“He’s a real solid catcher for us. His arm strength has gotten a lot better as he has developed over the years. He works at his blocking and he works at his receiving … he wants to be good.”

Galloway’s confidence on the field translated as to how he carried himself off it, as well.

“I became a leader and as I got older,” he said, “the other players on the team started looking up to me as being one of the leaders of the team. (His role) changed a lot. As we lead, a lot of the younger kids follow.”

“The first thing about Chase is that he’s a big-time competitor,” Stokes said. “He goes about his business every day. He’s not real vocal, which is a lot like a lot of our kids, but he works hard and our younger kids see how hard he works.”

Galloway admitted that he is still an unfinished product. He said he needs to continue to grow as a catcher in blocking pitches as well as continuing to get quicker and faster. That, he said, is where playing for Preston McDonald’s Stingers at FDTC comes in. 

“I felt it was my best opportunity to take the juco route and get there, get better and help the team,” he said of his college decision. “I really like Coach McDonald and all the coaches there. I feel like they have a great program.”

One of the assistant coaches with the Stingers is Lugoff-Elgin graduate Will Dorton, who is the team’s first-year pitching coach. Galloway said Dorton’s being at the school gives him a comfort level which may not be the same as it is for other incoming freshmen. “It’s a real comfort to have (Dorton) there,” he said. “I’ve known Will for a long time; he’s a friend and he’s also a good coach. I like him a lot.”

Dorton’s presence at FDTC also has Stokes feeling good about Galloway’s heading to school up along I-20.

“It helps to have some guys down there that he knows. I don’t know if that influenced his decision to go down there or not,” Stokes said of Dorton’s role in Galloway’s decision. 

“When kids leave high school and go off to college, they need somebody there with them and that gives Chase the assurance that he’s not going to be there by himself and if he needs somebody, he has somebody there on campus with him in Will.”

Stokes said if Galloway takes the same approach in college as he did in high school with academics and baseball, he sees no reason as to why his catcher will not be successful at the next level.

“Chase has made some huge jumps since he’s been here and if he does that again, I think the sky’s the limit for him,” Stokes said. “His body is going to change again once he gets down there and gets into a consistent weight program. I’m not saying that it’s going to be more strenuous than the one we put our kids through in the fall but he’s going there to play baseball and it’s a full-time job to play baseball in college and go to school.”

For his part, Galloway said he has to focus on both the books and baseball when he embarks on this next stage of his life. Stokes said he knows Galloway will do the right thing and be where he is supposed to be while being someone who the FDTC baseball program and community can be proud.

 “Chase is a quality kid and a very good student,” Stokes said. “He does things the right way, he has a great work ethic and he has great character. His family has done a real good job of raising him. He’s a ‘Yes, sir. No, sir.’ kid who is very humble. He has all the qualities you would want in a good person.”


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