After getting shut out 10-0 in the opening game, Taft College bounced back to play visiting Orange Coast College of Costa Mesa tough in the second game of a Saturday doubleheader before losing 2-1.

After getting shut out 10-0 in the opening game, Taft College bounced back to play visiting Orange Coast College of Costa Mesa tough in the second game of a Saturday doubleheader before losing 2-1.


The one-run loss was tough to swallow for Cougar pitcher Stephanie Powell, who didn’t give up a single earned run.  Both of Coast’s runs came as a result of Cougar miscues.


It was the final non-conference warm-up for the Cougars who christen Central Valley Conference action Thursday by hosting Porterville College at 3 p.m.


Cougar coach Stefanie Walsh said she was pleased with the way her team battled back after getting blanked in the first game and getting only one hit.


“It definitely was better than I imagined,” she said of her team’s effort, especially after catcher and team leader Monica Lovato went down with a leg injury late in the first game.


“It’s difficult when your team leader goes down,” Walsh said.  “It can spiral out of control in a hurry.”


She was particular happy with the way her team responded after shuffling the lineup around to offset the loss of Lovato.


“So many of them were playing out of position, yet they made the big plays and we stayed together.”


Orange Coast got an unearned run, but the Cougars tied it in the fifth when Sarah Johnson opened with a single and was forced at second on a grounder by Tessa Asuega.  Utility player Jazmine Kendall walked and Andrea Garza lashed a single into left center to score Asuega.


But Coast came back with another unearned run and held the Cougars hitless the rest of the way.
Powell gave up four hits, struck out two and walked one.


Tifanie Tapeni, who usually is at first base, pitched the first game in only her second start.
She had the Cougars’ only hit in the first game and made an outstanding catch of a foul ball in the second game, reaching over the fence to make the grab.


She also had a hit in the second game.  Casey Narusawa, who moved from shortstop to fill in for the injured Lovato behind the plate, had the other Cougar hit.


Before hosting Orange Coast, the Cougars were on the road at Foothill College where they split a doubleheader, losing the first game 7-6 before winning the second 5-2.


A seventh-inning homerun was the difference in the first game.


The Cougars (2-10) had eight hits in each game with Lovato cracking two doubles and a single, Nina Atiga four singles, Johnson three singles, and Tapeni and Asuega two singles apiece.
Powell got the win, striking out two and walking five.


She also pitched the one-run loss, striking out five and walking five.  She gave up eight hits, half of them to third baseman Raven Mullins, who cracked a homer, triple and two singles.  Mullins had a double and single in the second game to give her six on the day.