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Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

SFSU Baseball falls to Cal State Monterey Bay in Western Regionals

Their playoff run came to an end after an impressive stretch
Vanden Harris
Members of San Francisco State’s baseball team bring their bats out for inspection before a game against Montana State University Billings at San Francisco State University’s Maloney Field on Feb. 4, 2024. (Left to Right: Cole Thompson, River Diaz De Leon, Jacob French, Justin Johnson, Joseph Scalzo) (Vanden Harris special to Golden Gate Xpress)

The San Francisco State University baseball team saw their season come to an end at the hands of Cal State Monterey Bay on May 18 at Otter Sports Complex in Seaside, California in the Western Regionals of the 2024 National Collegiate Athletics Association Division II Baseball Championship. 

After defeating Northwest Nazarene in the first round and winning the first game against Monterey Bay on Friday, they came up short in games two and three on Saturday.

“This weekend, I felt like we played really well in all aspects,” said infielder Justin Johnson. “From the energy in the dugout to the play on the field, I thought we gave our best shot at winning this but I think we just didn’t capitalize when it mattered most in the end.”

The Gators finished the regular season with a conference record of 22-18 and an overall record of 34-26. With this record, they secured the fourth seed when the California Collegiate Athletic Association Baseball Tournament came around. SFSU then took down Chico State, Cal State San Marcos and Cal Poly Pomona before coming up short against Monterey Bay in the championship of the CCAA Baseball Tournament and again in the Western Regionals.

San Francisco State’s Jacob French serves a pitch to a batter v. Cal State Monterey Bay at San Francisco State University’s Maloney Field on March 10, 2024. (Vanden Harris special to Golden Gate Xpress)

“I think there was a combination of mistakes on the field and some calls that didn’t go our way but we fought all the way to the end,” said pitcher and first baseman Ethan Remmers. “We’ve got some pretty tough dudes that love winning but that’s just how the chips fall sometimes.”

The team improved from last season, where their overall record was 27-22 and they lost in the first round of the CCAA Baseball Tournament. There is also a good bond between people on the team according to the players.

“I am most proud about this team is how close we have become down the stretch,” said catcher and utility player Derek Laferriere. “Becoming such a close band of brothers has allowed us to take the next step and become a dangerous team.”

Laferriere was a huge asset to the Gators this season, holding the second-highest batting average on the team at .355. This was his second season with the team.

“During this season, I have really tried to keep the game as simple as possible and go back to my roots of why I played this sport when I was a kid,” Laferriere said. “Just trying to have fun this year has taken the edge off and allowed me to play more free.”

Johnson finished the season with a .374 batting average, which was the highest on the team. He had 15 home runs and 72 runs batted in this season. Johnson also hit four home runs in a game against Cal State Dominguez Hills on May 3. 

“It was a surreal feeling,” Johnson said. “One of my best games I’ve ever had.”

Several players on the team mentioned their bond and team chemistry as huge contributors to the group’s winning season. 

“I would say our success has come from a family-like culture,” Remmers said. “We all love and care for each other and most of all, we like to have fun.”

Head coach Tony Schifano, who has been with the team since 2015, expressed his pride in the players and their ability to overcome tough situations.

“Whether it was all the rainouts and make-up doubleheaders throughout the season, all the fieldwork they do on a daily basis to get a practice or game in, overcoming a tough stretch late in the season when our CCAA playoff chances were in the balance, or all the travel in the postseason, they just keep going,” Schifano said. 

The Gators have a small number of seniors on the team this year, which means they are expecting many returners next season. 

“We are definitely going to build off this success and hopefully continue to grow into the next year,” Johnson said. “We have a lot of building blocks in place for next year, I’m excited for the future of this team.”

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About the Contributor
Jake Knoeller
Jake Knoeller, Staff Reporter
Jake Knoeller (he/him) is a reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in communications. He was born in Eureka, California and raised in Humboldt County. He currently lives in San Francisco. He previously worked for The Lumberjack, the student newspaper of Cal Poly Humboldt. During his free time, Jake enjoys playing or watching soccer, listening to music, and exploring neighborhoods in San Francisco.

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