This weekend is a big one for the 17th-ranked USC Beaufort softball team -- on and off the field.
Saturday's 1 p.m. doubleheader in Hardeeville between USCB and Webber International is one of the most anticipated on the Sun Conference schedule, as the Sand Sharks (25-3, 3-1) were the preseason pick to unseat the Warriors as conference champion.
Webber International won three of four meetings last season, including a 3-0 victory in the Sun Conference tournament.
The Warriors (15-13, 5-1) are led by second baseman Maureen Sandidge (.429, 3 HR, 30 RBI) and pitcher Ashley Quigley (7-3, 2.51 ERA). Quigley also has a team-high six home runs and 18 RBIs.
The Sand Sharks are led by junior transfer C.J. Browder, who is hitting .476 with 10 home runs, 44 RBIs and 12 steals. On the mound, USC Beaufort is led by Kristi Cook (11-0, 1.99 ERA).
Embry-Riddle, Sunday's 1 p.m. doubleheader opponent, is trying to duplicate what the Sand Sharks did last season by competing for a conference title in the program's first year.
After a rocky start to the season, the Eagles (8-18, 3-3) have turned things around in conference play, but they have been out of action since suffering a two-game sweep at Webber International on March 28.
On Saturday, the Sand Sharks will celebrate Strikeout Cancer Day by wearing pink jerseys in honor of those affected by the disease, and they will wear purple hair ribbons in honor of the mother of freshman outfielder Missy Hughes, who is battling pancreatic cancer.
A silent auction will benefit Camp Happy Days (camphappydays.org), an organization that provides summer camp experiences to South Carolina children battling cancer.
Sunday is Youth Day. One adult will receive free admission Sunday when accompanied by one or more child wearing apparel representing their favorite team.
Children wearing team apparel will receive a free scoop of ice cream and coloring books while supplies last. The USCB Education Club also will be on hand to provide face painting.
Donations are suggested, with proceeds going to Richard's Journey to benefit Richard Culliver, a Columbia-area boy who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.