April 26, 2013

SUNYAC softball race up in the air


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Mathematically, Plattsburgh State could finish anywhere from first in the SUNY Athletic Conference softball standings to out of the playoffs.

And it will all be decided this weekend.

“It’s a big weekend for everybody,” Plattsburgh coach Stephanie Zweig said. “The conference is kind of up in the air right now.”

The Cardinals finish the conference schedule by hosting Buffalo State today and Fredonia on Saturday. Then they’ll wrap the regular season with nonconference road games against Union and Ithaca on Sunday.

Plattsburgh (19-11, 9-5 SUNYAC) is currently fourth in the conference but just three games behind first-place Brockport. Cortland is one game back in second place, and Geneseo is right behind in third. The Cardinals would need to win all four SUNYAC games and get some help in order to finish first.

The top six teams will make next week’s conference tournament.

Zweig said her players will probably be paying some attention to the standings this week, but she doesn’t want them focusing too much on what other teams are doing.

“I think it’s good they look at it; it shows they care where we stand and how others are doing,” Zweig said. “But at the same time, it’s definitely distracting sometimes to pay attention to other teams.”

Buffalo State (12-16, 6-8) is in seventh place and fighting for a playoff spot. The Bengals dropped two games to Brockport and two more to Geneseo last weekend.

“I think they’re a little bit in the same boat as us, where they lost a lot of seniors that had done great things for them,” Zweig said of the Bengals. “I think they’re in a rebuilding year right now. They have a lot of talent, and they’re just struggling to put it together right now.”

Fredonia (8-21, 3-11) split with Geneseo last weekend and was swept by Brockport. In nonconference meetings with Medaille on Tuesday, the Blue Devils lost the first game 6-4 and then won 5-3.

Plattsburgh has won seven of its last eight games. On paper the Cardinals seem to have a good opportunity to move up in the standings this week — they play two teams near the bottom of the standings.

But when they met last-place Potsdam last Sunday, they ended up in two tight games. The Cardinals allowed a combined nine runs and had to go to 10 innings to win the second game for the sweep.

Zweig said after facing the top teams earlier in their schedule, it’s important that the Cardinals take care of business against the teams lower in the standings. And all that matters is the final scores.

“Potsdam, it doesn’t matter how many runs they scored against us; it just matters that we won,” she said. “It’s really important that we win these. It doesn’t matter in what fashion.”

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