Sophomore shortstop Ashley McKeown socked a two-run walk-off homerun in the bottom of the seventh Tuesday to give Taft College a 5-4 non-conference softball victory over Gavilan College.
That dramatic win snapped a five-game losing streak and gives the Cougars a spark heading into today's home doubleheader against Allan Hancock College (6-4).
McKeown's game-winner capped a four-run inning.
Brooklyn Amador set the table with a two-run double, driving home Peyton Buen and Chelsea Eli-Kido after both got base hits and moved up on a groundout.
Amador and McKeown each had two hits. Kelina Nakai, Jessica Neher and Jill Del Vilar also had hits.
Pitching chores were divided between Jessica Neher and Cheyenne Emerson.
Neher worked four scoreless innings, striking out two and walking one. Emerson gave up four runs on six hits in her three innings of work. She got the win on McKeown's homer.
"We showed some bright spots," head coach Stefanie Walsh said. "We haven't been getting that lately when we needed it. The main thing was maintained our energy level."
That's what has been missing during the team's five-game losing streak culminated by Monday's doubleheader home loss to Hartnell College of Salinas.
After losing the first game 11-3, the Cougars took a lead into the last inning of game two but gave up a three-run homer and lost 6-4.
Walsh said she felt too many of her players were pressing too hard during the losing streak.
"I think at times we were playing not to lose, and we have to play to win," she said.
It's a busy week for the Cougars – seven games.
After today's doubleheader, the team travels to Aptos on Saturday for a twin bill against Cabrillo College, which finishes off the non-conference grind. TC opens Central Valley Conference play next Thursday by hosting Merced College at 2 p.m