Galiotto, Serra have EABO Riverdawgs 17U in tune

By DN WRITING STAFF | June 1, 2024

Cam Singto drives in the game’s first run for the Easton Area Riverdawgs.

By Rich Bevensee

They may be on slightly different career paths but as club baseball teammates they have begun their summer seasons perfectly in sync.

Galiotto and Serra, a pair of hard-throwing right-handers, combined on a five-hit shutout and led the Easton (Pa.) Area Baseball Organization Riverdawgs to a 3-0 pool play victory over the Professional Baseball Instruction Eagles in the 17/18U Wood Bat division of the Home Run Classic on Friday evening at Diamond Nation in Flemington.

Their dominance was a perfect start for the Riverdawgs’ wood bat season debut. Besides Galiotto tagging a runner at the plate trying to score from third on a wild pitch in the third inning, together they allowed just one runner into scoring position.

“They pounded the strike zone, they mixed it up really well and they had command of their off speed pitches, too,” Riverdawgs coach Mike Martino said. 

Galiotto, who just completed his junior season at Easton Area High, went five innings and allowed three hits and two walks and struck out two. 

Galiotto flourished by using a healthy mix of his high-70s fastball, changeup and curveball.

“I used the fastball early in the count to get ahead,” Galiotto said. “At 0-2, 1-2, I was working the curveball down in the zone, And maybe if it got back to 2-2, I’d work a changeup inside – jam them hard. They’re playing with wood bats and sometimes it’s hard to hit inside pitches. When I got my fastball on the outside corner I was really working well. And once I showed the curveball and changeup for strikes, they got behind on the fastball and I used that to keep them off-balance.”

Galiotto said he learned from his high school season – Easton finished a disappointing 6-14 this spring – that he could benefit from throwing more first pitch strikes and getting ahead in counts. Easton plays in the rugged Lehigh Valley Conference.

Pursuing that goal, and researching which schools offer architecture, will shape his search into which colleges he pursues this summer and beyond. 

“Sometimes I struggled with balls and strikes, but that’s my focus for the summer,” Galiotto said. “I want to get ahead of guys. First pitch strikes always help.”

Serra, a senior who will graduate from Nazareth Area High on June 4, took over in the fifth inning and allowed two hits while striking out five over three innings. 

Serra silenced Eagles bats with his slider, his best pitch of the evening, as well as a mix of his fastball, cutter and changeup.

Serra will attend and play for Western Connecticut State in the fall. He made that big decision last summer, well before his senior season.

“Making that decision was like an anvil being lifted off my shoulders,” Serra said. 

Serra’s Nazareth team, an LVC rival of Easton, went 16-4 this spring, qualified for the district playoffs, and won a division title for the first time in recent memory. 

“It was fun to have a good senior year, and now I’m focused on helping this team win,” Serra said. 

For three innings Galiotto and Eagles righty Alvin Li were locked in a solid pitcher’s duel, throwing zeroes on the scoreboard and allowing a combined three hits.

But the difference in this game was that Galiotto and Serra were backed by a couple of perfectly executed at bats. 

The Riverdawgs scratched out two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Cam Singto slapped an opposite-field base hit through the right side to drive in leadoff hitter Tony Suffness with the game’s first run. Singto scored from second when the next hitter, Michael Bracco, grounded to short and the throw to first was errant. 

Nico Brown mirrored Singto in the fifth when his single through the right side scored Jameson Stell, who singled and stole second to lead off the inning. 

“They did their job. It’s what they’re supposed to do – hit behind the runner,” Martino said. “Now we have to put the bat on the ball a little more.”

Li pitched a tremendous game overall. He allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out eight over five innings, primarily with his high-70s fastball. 

Ryan DeSantis pitched a scoreless sixth inning for the Eagles, giving up two hits and striking out three. 

The Riverdawgs made it a clean sweep of their Friday doubleheader when they defeated the Mid-Atlantic Hurricanes 25/26, 4-3. The ‘Dawgs complete pool play against TTBA Sweeney on Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

The Eagles fell to 0-2 Friday after bowing to TTBA Sweeney in the nightcap, and will close pool play against the Mid-Atlantic Hurricanes on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

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