Cougars face Porterville and Fresno

After getting roughed up at the Fresno Bash last weekend, the Taft College softball team looks to heal up by returning to Central Valley Conference action this week.

That starts today when the Cougars travel to Porterville College for a doubleheader and to Fresno on Thursday for a single game.

The Cougars dropped three of their four weekend games following last Thursday’s tough 7-6 loss to Merced in the conference opener.
TC enters the week 0-1 in the CVC and 8-13 overall.

Errors and two critical base-running mistakes ruined the Cougars’ chances against Merced.

“We are still making mistakes that we shouldn’t be making at this point in the season,” said head coach Stefanie Walsh.  “We made some base-running mistakes and errors.”

She likes the way her team is hitting.

“We’re hitting the ball hard and scoring runs, but we just have a tendency to give up equal numbers.  We’re trying to focus more on the defensive side of the game.”

The Blue Devils jumped out to a 5-0 lead with a run in the second and two each in the third and fourth with some timely hitting and three Cougar errors.

TC got two back in the bottom of the fourth on a leadoff single by Kelina Nakai, an error, an RBI double by Ashley McKeown and a run-scoring single by Jessica Neher.  

A base-running mistake blunted the rally.

Merced hiked the lead back to 5 in the top of the fifth by loading the bases with three straight singles followed by a two-run double.
Chelsea Eli-Kido opened the home half of the inning with a line drive single to left and coasted home on Stephanie Keith’s laser over the left field fence.

Brooklyn Amador continued the hit parade by lining a single to left, moved to second on an illegal pitch call and scored on McKeown’s single to right.

Amador drove a one-out single to center in the seventh, moved up on a groundout and scored when Venise Elisara dumped a soft liner into right field.

McKeown followed with a bouncer up the middle to put the tying run on second, but a ground ball ended the game.

Amador finished 3-for-4, McKeown 3-for-3, Eli-Kido 2-for-3 and Keith 2-for-4 as the Cougars banged out 13 hits.

Merced offset that effort with a 16-hit attack led by Ashlee Penrod’s 4-for-4 and two RBIs.

Neher and Cheyenne Emerson split pitching chores for the Cougars.

Neher worked the first four innings, giving up five earned runs on 14 hits with three strikeouts.

Emerson gave up two hits, did not allow a run and struck out three in her three innings of work.

TC’s lone win in the Fresno Bash was a 7-4 victory over Modesto.  The Cougars lost to Sierra, Sacramento City and Ohlone.