Sacramento State softball is in the midst of a three-team race for first place with Idaho State University and Southern Utah University.
The team that finishes in first place this weekend will earn the right to host the Big Sky Conference Tournament next week. As of right now the three teams sit atop the standings: Idaho State (11-3), Sacramento State (12-4) and Southern Utah (9-4).
The Hornets finished their regular season, sweeping Weber State University 11-1 and 4-3 on Friday.
But despite not playing any games this week, senior catcher Paris Prado said the team is not taking a week off of practice to see what is going with the other teams.
“This week will not be an easy week of practice. We are going to push it,” Prado said. “We don’t want to be rusty when conference tournament starts.”
For the Hornets to host the tournament, they need help from the University of North Dakota who will take on Idaho State. However, if North Dakota losses twice, the tournament will be played in Pocatello.
Prado said this week will be crazy to keep up with what the rest of conference is doing.
“This week will be nerve wracking for the players because we have a chance to host the Big Sky tournament,” Prado said. “We have been stalking the other teams and texting each other throughout the week.”
The Hornets had a chance to take the opportunity from the Bengals on the road, but Sac State lost two close games. Idaho State mounted two late rallies to overcome its deficits, including a walk-off home run and a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning for wins on April 11 and 12.
“It was really tough to lose the game against Idaho State, because we knew what was at stake before playing the game,” Prado said.
The Hornets standout sophomore first baseman Sasha Margulies said that she has no idea if North Dakota will pull off the two wins against Idaho State.
“It will be nice if North Dakota can pull off the upset,” Margulies said. “To be honest, I really am not worried about that, I am more worried about us winning the tournament now.”
Margulies this season has led the team offensively with a .359 batting average and ranks second on the team with 22 RBIs.
At Ball State last season, Margulies saw the same setup the Big Sky implements, in which the team that won the regular season title would host the conference tournament.
However, she has never experienced watching what other teams do at the end of conference, so it is surreal to her and her teammates.
“It sucks that we have to wait and see how the other teams do to finish out the conference,” Margulies said. “We can not control anything that happens this weekend at all, and that will be the hardest part of this weekend.”
The Big Sky Tournament starts May 8.