St. Francis Looks to Build off Historic 2017 Season
TRAVERSE CITY – Once the snow finally melts and temperatures rise, Traverse City St. Francis will take to the diamond with its sights set on returning to East Lansing this Father’s Day weekend.
Winners of the 1990 Class D state championship, the Gladiators reached the state semifinals for the first time since 1992 before falling to state power Madison Heights Bishop Foley, 3-0, in the Division 3 title game.
St. Francis returns a good core from a squad that went 38-4 a year ago and is ranked second in Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association’s preseason Division 3 poll.
“Well, we have a number of the same players returning this year, so obviously our goals are very high,” St. Francis coach Tom Passinault. “We don’t want to set it as all or nothing. We want to enjoy the season, play good baseball and hopefully get back to the finals.”
The defending Lake Michigan Conference champion, St. Francis has challenged itself with a non-conference schedule that features the likes of Traverse City Central, Traverse City West, Division 2 No. 14 Gaylord, Division 4 No. 7 Muskegon Catholic Central, Muskegon Mona Shores, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, Division 1 No. 12 Woodhaven, East Grand Rapids and Division 4 No. 15 Glen Lake.
“Going to the state championship last year, now everyone knows what the expectations are and what we have to do to get there,” senior Joey Muzljakovich said. “Now we just have to work even harder that little last bit. Because now we know that we have the capabilities to and we definitely can.”
St. Francis is scheduled to have its season opener Thursday at Traverse City Central.