The UBC Thunderbirds softball team has been living out of suitcases for the entire season so far. Finally, having played just two of their 31 games on “home” turf, the T-Birds return to their makeshift home in Delta for a long stretch.
Three different schools will visit between Monday and Friday for a total of 10 games. The 17-14 Thunderbirds will be looking to take advantage of the friendly confines, hoping the cool weather can help freezes their opponents from south of the border.
UBC is coming off an impressive 10-game swing in Arizona for the Tucson Invitational Games where they went 7-3 with a narrow loss to highly ranked California State – San Marcos. The T-Birds have been getting big contributions from Cassandra Dypchey
(Surrey, BC), who leads the team with a .418 batting average, and Alana Westerhof
(Delta, BC), who has a .346 average, a team-high 33 runs batted in and a 5-0 record on the mound with a 2.33 ERA. Nicole Day
(Surrey, BC) has also impressed with a 2.36 ERA, while Jamie Randall
(Richmond, BC) sports a 3.04 ERA and has chipped in at the plate, going 6-for-8 in her few appearances.
Coming into town first are the College of Idaho Yotes, who have a 17-15 record. The teams will battle twice on Monday and twice again on Tuesday, with UBC hoping to take advantage of the Yotes’ road struggles, where they’re just 2-5. The Yotes are led at the plate by Molly Mills, who has a .383 average and a team-high five home runs, and on the mound by Nickayla Skinner, who has started 17 of the team’s 32 games and has an impressive 1.62 ERA.
Following up on Wednesday will be the Concordia University (of Oregon) Cavaliers, who will stay for just a pair of games. The Cavaliers are a sterling 24-9 but have played primarily at home, with just a 2-5 road record. Their top hitter, Taylor Copher, has a terrific .407 batting average with 16 doubles, while slugger Kate Santos has 14 home runs in just 33 games. Ashley Suter provides the bulk of the innings on the mound, and she is 12-4 with a 1.65 ERA so far.
Finally, the 17th-ranked (NAIA) Corban University Warriors will visit for a set of two games on Thursday and two more on Friday. The Warriors are 23-5 and have held up well on the road with a 5-1 record. Stephanie Nippert leads the way with a .449 average and 15 home runs in 28 games, providing perhaps the biggest individual threat UBC has faced this year. Nippert is also the reigning NAIA co-player of the week, hitting four home runs last week alone. Their top pitcher, Jessica Slate, primarily works out of the bullpen and has been lights out with a 1.14 ERA in 13 appearances.
A strong performance on this homestand could boost UBC into the NAIA top-25 rankings, as they received 5 voting points this past week. Corban (17th) and Concordia (the top-ranked team to miss the top-25) are both impressive opponents for the Thunderbirds to conquer. Following a strong showing in Tucson, UBC is in a good position to solidify themselves as a playoff contender.
All 10 games take place at North Delta Park, with the first pitch times varying throughout the week.