Scappoose alum starting final year of Ducks softball
Scappoose native Hannah Galey is approaching her final year on the University of Oregon softball team.
Galey ended her time as the Indians' shortstop in 2018 after a total 46 home runs, 217 runs batted in, and 200 runs scored.
At Oregon, Galey has been a utility player. In her junior year season, she was used most as a pinch-runner, substituted for a player on base, although she started seven games: four in left field and three in center field.
Galey said the difference between playing at Scappoose and Oregon is "light-years."
Galey started playing softball around age 5 and was already joining more competitive teams by the time she turned 8.
"In high school and growing up, I was always the best softball player," Galey said frankly.
But the reality at the next level has been very different.
"Coming into a school like Oregon, or really any college, you're walking into a place where everyone's the best at where they come from," Galey said. "That's a really big reality check that you have to have, especially coming from a small town where softball isn't very big."
In Galey's senior year at Scappoose, the team went 24-4, ending first in the Cowapa League and seventh in the OSAA 4A. Galey was the Cowapa League Player of the Year in her junior year.
Galey made 4A all-Oregon teams all four years: first team in her freshman year and second team in her sophomore, junior and senior years.
Galey said back in Scappoose, she'll often drive by the softball field and see the current team out practicing and wonder if future Division I players are in the group.
After graduating, Galey said she wants to get her real estate license. She eventually aims to get her broker license and become a commercial real estate broker.
At some point after graduating, she wants to get back into softball, too, and potentially coach a high school team in the future.
"I do think that those high school years are so important, because I had so much fun and I made some really good friendships during high school softball," Galey said. She added, "The coaches I had were so impactful to me, I still am in contact with a lot of them," specifically mentioning former Scappoose coaches CiJay Koler and Nicole Feakin.
Koler was "a very strong female figure in my life," Galey noted.
"She knew the goals that I had, since she played college softball, and so she knew how to get me ready, and she also always was there to reassure me when I felt down or if I had a bad game," Galey said. "She was just very impactful to me."
She added, "Playing at Scappoose holds a very, very special place in my heart."
While she knows it's a cliché, Galey said the aspect of her time at Oregon that she's enjoyed the most has been the people she's met.
Even the pandemic brought the team closer together.
"We couldn't go out and hang out with other people — we had to only stay within our team," said Galey. "It allowed for us to do a lot more team bonding with each other that we normally probably wouldn't do."
When Galey joined the Ducks, the team was reeling from a mass exodus. Coach Mike White had left Oregon to lead the University of Texas softball program after building the Ducks into one of the top programs in the nation. Ten softball players left the team following White's departure, many of them following him to Texas.
Galey was recruited when White still led the team, but she entered as Coach Melyssa Lombardi was taking the helm.
"It was hard," Galey said of her introduction to the team. "It felt like every single day was a new person saying they were leaving."
As a freshman, Galey didn't have to make an adjustment between two collegiate coaches with different coaching styles, like her older teammates did, but she felt like she was stuck in between.
After a few of her teammates left, the team held a players-only meeting, Galey remembers.
"It was basically the seniors sitting us freshmen down and being like, 'No one's asked you how you guys feel about all of this,'" she said.
The seniors acknowledged the confusing position the new players were in, Galey said.
"Hearing that come from the upperclassmen was reassuring when you're stuck in the middle," Galey said.
Galey was one of 10 freshmen on the team after the exodus.
Galey said she thinks people have a misconception that there's animosity between the people who left the team and those who stayed, but "that's just not the case."
"It made us a lot more resilient, having to go through that," Galey said. "Especially at the D-1 level, you never have to play with one pitcher, you never have to play with an outfielder playing first base. Those are just not situations that happen very often. So, I think it made our team a lot stronger."
In Galey's freshman year, the Ducks went 22-30, a sharp decline from the previous year's 53-10 record.
But the team is picking back up. The Ducks got a strong start in the 2020 season, going 22-2 before games were canceled because of the pandemic. In the 2021 season, the Ducks went 40-17 and finished third in the Pac-12.
Lombardi and the university agreed to an extension of Lombardi's contract to run through the 2025 season, the university announced Friday, Sept. 3.
Looking back, Galey can't quite remember what she expected when she was a high school student preparing for Oregon softball. But most likely, she said, "it was nothing like I thought it was gonna be."
"I definitely think it's shaped me in a way that I don't think I ever would have grown without it, with all the pressure that it comes with, all the different people I've been around, all the different situations I've encountered," Galey said. "I think it's allowed me to grow a lot in a very short amount of time."
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