YUCAIPA, CA – Each Spring like an annual pilgrimage the Yucaipa Thunderbirds travel to play in the tough Corona Stu Penter Softball Tournament March 5-11. The tournament features some of the strongest teams in California.
The T-Birds have played well in the tournament but never won it – and this year it was no exception. They finished with a respectable 3-2 record, and T-Birds coach Dave Kivett is OK with that.
Because for Kivett, the tournament serves as a Spring training and an evaluation of sorts that allows him to gauge just what kind of team he has to work with when the most important part of the season begins: The Citrus Belt League.
And if the T-Birds can finish in the top three, it assures an automatic berth into the CIF-Southern Section post-season playoffs.
That being said, Kivett’s T-Birds got off to a strong start in CBL play when they swept the visiting Fontana Steelers, 1-0, and 9-2, in games played on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We just didn’t hit the ball well in the first game,” Kivett said before the start of the second encounter.
But after the second game, he was pleased with the T-Birds offensive explosion – especially that of Courtney Brown, who was 4 for 4 including two doubles and four RBIs. Brown’s offensive outburst has now boasted her stats into the stratosphere: She has a .476 batting average, 8 RBIs, scored 7 runs, along with 2 doubles and 2 home runs.
“Courtney is seeing the ball well and she is making it happen for us,” Kivett said of his senior third baseman.