At 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, April 10, Arkansas Tech’s hopes for making a third straight trip to the Gulf South Conference Softball Tournament were looking pretty dim. The Golden Suns had just dropped an 8-2 decision to nationally 11th-ranked Alabama-Huntsville.
It was Arkansas Tech’s seventh consecutive softball loss in conference play, and to make matters (apparently) worse, the Suns had to turn around 45 minutes later to face nationally second-ranked Valdosta State. But sometime during that 45 minutes, something clicked in the two-time defending GSC West Division champions and Arkansas Tech re-captured the magic that helped it win 83 softball games the last two years. The Golden Suns will hope that magic carries over to this weekend when they host Delta State for a four-game series at the Chartwells Women’s Sports Complex in Russellville. First pitch for Saturday’s doubleheader is set for 2 p.m., while Sunday’s twin bill will begin at noon. Admission will be free. Arkansas Tech stunned Valdosta State 5-2 in that game last Saturday, and the Suns went on to defeat West Alabama 7-4 the next day. The wins lifted Tech from fifth place in the GSC West Division all the way to third place. The top four teams in the final GSC West standings will qualify for the GSC Softball Tournament April 30-May 2 in Southaven, Miss. Arkansas-Monticello (41-8, 18-4) has already wrapped up one of those four berths.
That leaves Henderson State (22-21, 11-11), Arkansas Tech (20-20, 10-12), Ouachita Baptist (32-20, 11-15) and Delta State (25-22, 11-15) in a four-team fight for the final three tickets to Southaven.
The Golden Suns finish the regular season with two home series. After hosting Delta State this weekend, Tech will welcome Arkansas-Monticello to the Chartwells Women’s Sports Complex on April 24-25. The Suns have been close to unbeatable at home since opening the Chartwells Complex in 2008. Tech is 47-6 all-time at the facility, including a 7-1 record this season. The Golden Suns did not even need their home-field advantage against DSU and UAM last season. Tech swept a four-game set at Delta State and took 3-of-4 at Arkansas-Monticello to close out the 2009 regular season and claim its second straight GSC West softball title. And while tracking down the nationally 23rd-ranked Cotton Blossoms for the 2010 GSC West championship would be a very tall order at this point, a similar performance against Delta State and UAM this year would certainly earn the Golden Suns a spot in the postseason.]]>