SF State softball team finds unexpected leadership, scores eighth best record in program history
The Gators missed out on the regional playoffs, but the future looks bright for next season.
May 14, 2023
Despite a roster with only three upperclassmen, the SF State softball team mustered enough leadership to finish the season with the eighth most wins in program history.
The Gators finished the season 27-23 after a 5-10 start. In the conference, they finished with a 15-19 record.
After five seniors departed from the 2022 roster, there was a learning curve for the seven freshmen who joined the team. It was an up-and-down season that ended with expectations exceeded.
The Gators were in the midst of a nine-game losing streak in February, but the squad turned up the heat after a rejuvenating meeting.
“We said, ‘We need to step up,’ and I think that was when the leaders fully decided to take control because we had to make a change in the season,” said sophomore outfielder Daniela Guerrera. “We could not just roll over and lose the rest of the season. I made a decision to focus more, lead more and be more vocal.”
Confidence from game to game started to grow for and it started to show. Sophomore second baseman Kai DeLeon said that a major turning point in the season was the end of the nine-game losing streak during a 7-6 loss to Dominguez Hills when the Gators knocked the opposing starting pitcher out of the game early.
“That’s when we knew we can actually hold ourselves to win these games against tough teams,” DeLeon said. “Knowing that we can beat San Marcos, Dominguez Hills and the top teams in our conference really showed that we could really take it all and we were just one game short from it.”
DeLeon explained the leap she made from her freshman season to this year as she jumped into a bigger role as the leadoff hitter to set the tone.
“I came into it not feeling really confident but after seeing my teammates show me the support, showing me the encouragement, I just felt like I found a confidence and knowing that I’m not going to let them down,” DeLeon said.
With new faces coming into the program, it was key to have a tight bond between the group to have a successful season.
“We all meshed extremely well together and being a new transfer. For me, that was really important because my last team was very culture heavy,” said junior shortstop Mia Misasi. “We all were a group, we all were together a lot, we all mesh so well together, which made us a great team,” Misasi said.
The Gators missed the postseason regional tournament by one game, but there were many steps in the right direction for the young squad. With many players returning to the team next season, the future is bright.
“Overall, there was a lot of good things that took place, some things we can take from this season, learn from and grow and get better next year, considering we are only losing one starter to graduation,” said Head Coach Alicia Reid.“I definitely think the last month in the season we hit our stride.”
With the help of the younger players, this made the job easier for the lone senior on the squad, third baseman Teya Vincent.
“I felt like I just had to show a lot of fight, help the girls and say ‘We could do it’,” Vincent said. “I did not feel much pressure being the only senior on the team, I feel like all of us were in the same boat, we all wanted it, we wanted to fight but with me being in my last year I was just wanting it badly.”
With many key returning pieces on the squad, the Gators softball team looks to make a strong bid next season in their hopes of making the postseason and winning their conference.