Sacramento State hasn’t had a softball player drafted professionally since the last pick of the 2009 draft, but that may be changing very soon.
Senior first baseman Sasha Margulies spent the last four years playing collegiate softball, with a stop at Ball State University in Indiana before coming to join the Hornets. She has made herself a key member of the softball team’s offense, consistently batting in the heart of the lineup for Sac State.
“I loved hitting when I was little, and I spent a ton of time trying to become a really good hitter,” Margulies said. “I just fell in love with softball through hitting.”
Originally from San Diego, Margulies has been around the sport for a long time, playing six years in Southern California for club and school teams before going to Indiana to play softball there. After only getting into two games at Ball State, Margulies decided to transfer, contacting an assistant coach from Sac State who had tried to recruit her to the Hornets during her high school days.
“I grew up not wanting to go to any California schools,” Margulies said. “I just always wanted to go away and travel and experience things outside of California, but I’m more than happy to be back.”
Coming back to California, Margulies needed to decide which school to continue playing for, but after spending just a bit of time around the campus and its people, her mind was set.
“I love Sac State. Honestly what got me to come here were the people at Sacramento. I just think that there’s a really good energy. I’ve never met a person I don’t like in Sacramento,” Margulies said. “It’s just a really warm community that I love to be around.”
One unique aspect about Margulies is the fact that she is right-handed, yet bats from the left side of the plate. It’s called cross-dominance, and left-handed batters are two steps closer to first base than right-handers. It’s uncommon, but it’s also an advantage, Margulies said.
“It’s funny, because when my dad and I first started training me when I was little, he tried having me hit from both the right side and the left side, but right side I just didn’t do anything. It was weird, I just could not hit the ball,” Margulies said. “But he just turned me around in the backyard and then I was just driving balls … Everything I do I use my dominant right hand, except batting lefty.”
Zamari Hinton, Margulies’ roommate and teammate, gave her perspective on her teammate’s role on the team, explaining that while she may not be a captain, Margulies is just as much a leader as anyone else in the clubhouse.
“I think her role is to lead us. She’s been playing collegiate softball for the past four years,” Hinton said. “She just brings energy. She’s always talking, and if she sees someone’s down, she goes, ‘OK, OK you got this.'”
Even the best players in the world go through hard times and adversity when competing on a constant basis. A lot of the time, it’s how the athlete responds to the difficult times that shows just how good a player they can be. Teammate Kortney Solis said she knows that even when Margulies isn’t contributing on the field, she’s contributing off it.
“Instead of somebody asking her to do something, she’ll just go and do it, regardless of if she wants to or not, and she gets things done,” Solis said. “Even if she’s in a slump, she’ll do everything that she can to make it happen.”
With her time as a collegiate softball player coming to an end, Margulies is focused on helping the Hornets win the Big Sky Conference, but she said she’s also growing on the idea that she may be good enough to compete professionally.
“A new goal of mine that I’ve discussed with my coaches, as well as my parents, is the possibility of playing professionally in the NPF softball league here in the United States, which at first I thought about but now I’m actively pursuing,” Margulies said. “That’s a huge goal of mine that I want to achieve by the end of the year.”
With Margulies as the backbone of the Hornet offense and a key clubhouse member, Sac State can look forward to watching the young athlete both help lead the team to the playoffs and prove that she deserves a shot in the pros.