Friendship plays vital role in leading team

Danny Souza and Mark Lindsay pose for a portrait at practice. Feb. 17.

Building their friendship since the beginning of their Gator baseball career, senior starters Danny Souza and Mark Lindsay have used that camaraderie to influence the baseball squad with their leadership.

On and off the field, Souza and Lindsay encourage teammates to arrive early to practice, make good use of the batting cages and strive for excellence in the classroom. Both have been instrumental in getting the team focused and being on the same page strategically during their four years at SF State.

Head coach Mike Cummins has seen the commitment both Souza and Lindsay have put into the baseball team, and said the dedication has been rubbing off on the younger teammates.

“The thing that I’ve really liked this year is they’ve really done a good job of getting other guys down there (at the batting cages) and there will be 10 or 20 guys down there hitting after practice,” Cummins said. “We have had way more guys doing that now and I think that’s because of Mark and Danny.”

Souza and Lindsey are two of nine seniors on this year’s Gator baseball squad and with redshirt junior Peter Reyes, they have grown with the Gator program since their freshmen year.

Danny Souza and Mark Lindsay pose for a portrait at practice. Feb. 17. Photo by Angelica Ekeke

Danny Souza and Mark Lindsay pose for a portrait at practice. Feb. 17.

“Those two, and Peter too, were the core group that came in four years ago and they have really blossomed as players,” Cummins said. “The leadership we’re getting from Mark and Danny this year is the best we’ve ever had since I’ve been here.”

Gators’ outfielder Souza has had his work ethic instilled in him at a young age by his parents and coaches. His hard work has earned him several academic accolades, including a spot on the dean’s list.

“My whole life I’ve been told to work as hard as I can and that’s something that my parents and coaches have put into me,” Souza said. “Academically, it’s also another competitive thing for me. I’ve put a lot of effort into the classroom, and good things have come from it. I know that in the long run, I’ll have a lot of opportunities because of the work that I’ve put into school.

The Gators are off to a 2-5 start and with a long season ahead, Gators’ starting catcher Lindsay has high expectations for this year’s team.

“Our goal is to make it to the playoffs,” Lindsay said. “We play 40 games so it’s kind of a grind for us to do that but it would be a good accomplishment for this program and for or our coach.”

Lindsay and Souza said they want to leave lasting impressions in their last year at SF State. The Gators have never made the California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament and last made it to the NCAA tournament in 1995.

“One thing that coach told me that stuck out is ‘it’s not about the number on your back, it’s about the name on the front,'” Souza said. “I know we’ve worked very hard, and I hope that in the long run they can look back and say ‘where’d this start? With the 2015 Gator baseball team.’”