Gators softball? Anything but soft


Christian Urrutia

SFSU Softball third baseman Sara Higa (left), pitcher Lindsey Cassidy, outfielder Mallory Cleveland and coach Alicia Reid pose for a portrait outside the Gymnasium at SF State, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. Reid was previously head softball coach at Humboldt State University for 5 years before starting this past year at SFSU and said, “My philosophy of coaching is minimizing hesitation. Anticipating instead of reacting.” (Christian Urrutia/Golden Gate Xpress)

Change can be scary, but for SF State softball, change is nothing new.

After finishing no higher than 6th place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association in the past three seasons, SF State’s softball team is ready for redemption. The six seniors will have to help lead a team laden with freshmen and transfers. They’ll have to do so while adapting to the third coaching staff in four years.

A lack of consistency may be something that has hindered the Gators over the past three years, but the players have taken it in stride.

“It’ll be great for the real world,” said Mallory Cleveland, senior left fielder. “Adapting to change, and knowing how to cope with it and thrive in it.”

“It’s what’s gonna happen in the workplace, too,” added Lindsey Cassidy, senior pitcher.

Head Coach Alicia Reid, who spent the last five years as an assistant coach at Humboldt State, is looking to take SF State back to the playoffs with a completely revamped style of play. Instead of relying on offensive outbursts, Reid wants her team to take a methodical and aggressive approach to run-scoring. She said it’s the way she was taught to play.

“We have to be able to produce runs if we’re not hitting the ball,” Reid said. “My philosophy of coaching is minimizing hesitation. Reading the ball, reading the flight of the pitch. Anticipating instead of reacting.”

The players are embracing the new ideology because they’ve seen schools like Cal State Monterey Bay and Humboldt State utilize it successfully. “Last year we would, not play it safe, but stick to what we know,” said Sara Higa, senior third baseman. “We’ve definitely been pushed out of our comfort zone, for the better.”

When asked who their primary targets are within the conference, Cleveland mentioned Monterey Bay because of the aggression that they play with. “We didn’t know how to defend it previously,” she said. “But now we have the offensive tools to use it, and we have the defensive tools to defend against it.”

“Every team in our conference is very good, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses,” Cassidy said. “It’s just how you play against them. I think being more aggressive will tackle all of their strengths and weaknesses better than we have in the past.”