Taft College Cougars Women's Softball

Taft College is very excited to have the softball team back on the field.  After a suspended season in the spring of 2015, Taft College made a commitment to our returning student athletes and to our community to put a plan into place that ensures the future success of our women’s softball program. 

Taft College is fully prepared for competition this spring 2016 season.  There have been many folks involved in holding up to this commitment.  Diane Emberson and Russell Emberson, both from Taft Union High School softball, worked with the softball players in the fall to prepare them for the spring season. Our maintenance department has spent countless hours getting the field ready for competition.  In December, the spring coaches were named and the rest in soon to be history.

The preseason outlook is very positive.  Although there are 3 players that remained at Taft College from last season, the team is still very young.  All have freshman eligibility and none have played college level competition.  The expectation is high as we use this season to build for the future.

News Release
October 27, 2016
Taft College Hires Head Women’s Softball Coach/Adjunct Professor

Taft College is excited to have Cassidy Bell join the West Kern Community College District as the Head Women’s Softball Coach and Adjunct Professor for the upcoming academic year. Cassidy will be responsible for all aspects of the softball program, and will have a teaching assignment in the disciplines of Physical Education, Health Education, and/or Kinesiology. 

Cassidy holds a master’s degree in Kinesiology Sport Management from Louisiana State University. Immediately prior to accepting the position at Taft College, Cassidy has been a substitute teacher for Fruitvale and Greenfield districts in Bakersfield. Cassidy has experience related to softball not only as a team player, but as a graduate assistant for strength and conditioning, volunteer coach for softball and mentor.   As a college player, Cassidy was a NCAA intercollegiate Division I Athlete for Penn State Varsity Softball, was 1st Team All-American for softball, named 1st Team All-Big Ten, was captain of the Varsity Penn State softball team and received the Sportsmanship award.   

Cassidy states, “I'm looking forward to the opportunity to compete and strive to get better every day on and off the field. I'm excited with the group of athletes I have and see a great future with the softball team. Success as a coach for me means being able to get better each day and helping these athletes to have the building blocks they will need later to be successful in life. It's not about the wins or losses, it's about building a culture and a mindset for this program that we will be able to build for the present and future athletes to come.”

“Our Athletic Department is very focused on the success of our athletes both academically and athletically.  They are a model of student success with providing coaching, mentoring and intrusive meaningful contact,” says Primavera Arvizu, Interim Vice President of Student Services. “The proactive program motivates and assists student-athletes to make successful transitions to college life, achievement and maintaining satisfactory level of academic performance.  Cassidy’s coaching philosophy directly aligns with our department and mission, and will allow us to continue our tradition of athletic excellence. Go Cougars!”
Kanoe Bandy, Athletic Director, also shares, “I am very excited to have Cassidy Bell join our coaching staff.  I believe with her coaching and playing experience that she will make an immediate impact on our student athletes and on the program.”

Taft College is part of the Central Valley Athletic Conference, with the average sport offerings being 10 sports per college. The TC Athletic Department provides opportunities for students to participate in several other intercollegiate sports programs. Men may participate in Baseball, Golf and Soccer; and Women may participate in Basketball, Soccer, Softball, Golf, and Volleyball. Sport programs teach student athletes the value of discipline, loyalty, hard work, good health and good sportsmanship. 

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For more information, please contact, Kanoe Bandy at kbandy@taftcollege.edu or (661) 763-7779.

Heartbreak for Taft College Softball Team in Season Finale
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller

April 21, 2016

COALINGA – A struggling Taft College softball team was on the verge of ending a frustrating season on a high note here Tuesday but a late-inning collapse ruined it.

Alexandra Benevidez and Keana Ratcliff-Hogan both slugged two-run homeruns to give the Cougars a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.

After host West Hills College got three hits to score its first run, the Falcons tied the game in the seventh by combining an infield error, two bunt singles, an RBI hit, a bases loaded walk and a sacrifice fly.

After retiring the Cougars in order in the top of the eighth, West Hills loaded the bases on a single and two walks and got a walk-off hit by shortstop Ashley Brown to spoil TC’s bid for a season-ending win.

Benevidez hammered her dinger over the left field fence in the second inning after Sonya Lawrence socked a one-out double.

Hogan made it 4-0 in the fourth when she belted a pitch over centerfield fence after Payton Spragling, who had three hits for the Cougars, poked a two-out single.

Halle Neher had two singles for the Cougars and Kelsey Wilmer one.

Neher and Benevidez each had a stolen base and the Cougar defense turned a double play.

Cheyenne Gutierrez went the distance in the circle for the Cougars. She gave up four earned runs on 11 hits and walked three. The lone unearned run came in the seventh when the Falcons tied the game.

It was a resurrection season for the Cougars. The college was forced to drop the sport last year due to a lack of players.

TC finished with a 3-15 record in the Central Valley Conference and 3-24 overall.

Cougar Softball Team Outlasts Porterville
by Dennis McCall

Taft Midway Driller

April 7, 2016

PORTERVILLE – Taft College got off to a quick lead that paced the Cougars to a wild 15-11 Central Valley Conference softball victory here Tuesday.

There was plenty of everything: runs (26), hits (26), errors (9) and walks (16).

Runs and hits were pretty even with the Cougars leading the hit parade by smacking 16 base hits, 15 of them singles, to the Pirates 10. Both teams left runs on the base paths – Porterville 11 and Taft 10.

But errors were uneven with the home team committing six compared to Taft’s three.

The Cougars had a big lead in free passes. Pitcher Cheyeene Gutierrez dished out 13 of them and that kept the Pirates in the game.

Every Cougar hitter in the lineup had at least one hit.

Freshman designated player Halle Neher, a Taft High product, went 3-for-5 with a double and run batted in.

Keana Ratcliff-Hogan and Alexandra Benevidez both drove in three runs each.

Tiana Cantero-Kawela, Bailey San Agustin-Nortdmeier, Kelsey Wilmer, Benvidez and Sonja Lawrence all smacked two hits each.

The Cougars had a good day on the base paths with Neher stealing two bases and Kawela, Nordmeier and Benevidez one each.

Pitcher Cheyeene Gutierrez pitched a complete game, giving up nine earned runs on 10 hits with 13 walks.

TC jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the Pirates tied it after three innings.

The Cougars then scored four times in the fourth and sixth sandwiched around one run in the fifth to take a 14-5 lead.

TC (3-9 CVC, 3-16 overall) is in Reedley today (Thursday) for a conference doubleheader with the second place Tigers (10-2, 20-14).

TC Softball Team Swept by Merced
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller

April 4, 2016

Meanwhile, the Cougar softball team dropped a doubleheader to visiting Merced College on Friday, losing the first game 13-12 on a disputed third strike call and the nightcap 8-2.

Head coach Kanoe Bandy said her team rallied in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game, then saw Merced score once in the top of the eighth to take a one-run lead. TC loaded the bases in the home half of the inning with two outs only to have hopes dashed on a strikeout.

Bandy admitted it was a bad call but was more upset with her batter.

“With two strikes you swing at anything close,” she said.

Statistics on the first game were unavailable.

In the second game Merced banged 11 hits and took advantage of nine walks. A four-run fifth broke open a close game.

Merced first baseman Marta Mitchell drove in four runs with a homer and double and centerfielder Jennah Valdez went 4-for-4.

Cougar catcher Keana Ratcliff-Hogan went 3-for-3, Bailey San Agustin-Nordmeier doubled and Kelsey Wilmer tripled to drive in a run.

Alexandra Benevidez worked the circle for TC, giving up eight hits and nine walks.

The Cougars are at Porterville today for a single Central Valley Conference game and at Reedley Thursday for a doubleheader.

Cougar Softball Seeks First Win in Home Outing
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller

February 8, 2016

Taft College’s resurgent softball program hopes for its first win today (Tuesday) when the Cougars host Chabot College of Hayward for a non-conference doubleheader.

Games are scheduled for 1 and 3 on the campus softball field on the north side of the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center.

The Cougars are 0-3 so far as they try to kick start a program that was suspended last year for lack of players.

TC dropped a doubleheader last Thursday to Gavilan College in Gilroy by scores of 13-5 and 7-5.

In the first game the Cougars led 5-4 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning when the wheels came off.

Gavilan scored nine times to end the game on the eight-run mercy rule.
Taft had eight hits and Gavilan just five but the Cougars committed three costly errors while the Rams were flawless in the field.

Shortstop Tiana Cantero-Kawela and first baseman Bailey San Augistin-Nordmeier both tripled and singled for the Cougars and drove in a run. Both also had a stolen base.

Third baseman Halle Neher and second baseman Sonja Lawrence both doubled and Kelsey Wilmer, the Cougar center fielder, and catcher Keana Ratcliff-Hogan singled. Alexandra Benevidez and Cheyene Gutierrez shared the pitching duties. Neher and Wilmer are former Taft High players.

Jockey Club

Madeline Griffith and Virginia Salanoa-Sagapolu

Bailey San Agustin-Nordmeier, Tiana Cantero-Kawelo and Sonja Lawrence, softball student athletes, were honored as Outstanding Kern County Athletes by the Bakersfield Jockey Club on Monday February 22, 2106. These three young ladies hung in during a time of uncertainty as Taft College takes the time to rebuild the softball program. They are all three captains, infielders, top of the lineup and they all maintain a grade point average higher than a 3.0. They are excellent student athletes and representatives of Taft College.

After a Years Absence, TC Softball Gets a Re-start
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller

February 1, 2016

Taft College restarted its softball engine last Friday a year after a season was cancelled due to a lack of players.

As expected not all the cylinders were clicking but the coaches came away filled with optimism despite a 14-4, five-inning loss to Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria.

“We are essentially starting a new program,” said head coach Kanoe Bandy, who also is the college’s athletic director. “We had to literally start from scratch, but we are excited about starting a new season. We have some talent but just lack experience, especially our pitching.”

Bandy is teaming up with husband, Don, who came out of retirement, and newcomer Amy Droege, who was an assistant coach at College of the Canyons in Valencia last year.

“We not only have new players, we have a new coaching staff,” Kanoe Bandy said.

Three players from last year’s aborted season continued to work during the spring: Halle Neher, Bailey San Augustin-Nordmeier and Amber Vaughn. Neher and Nordmeier also play volleyball and Vaughn is a member of the Cougar basketball team, so she’s doing double duty.

Nordmeier pitched the first three innings Friday, giving up five runs (one earned), on four hits and six walks. Alexandra Benevidez worked the final two innings, giving up eight hits.

“We’re still working with her on her control,” Bandy said. “She throws hard.”

Nordmeier, shortstop Tiana Cantero-Kawela and second baseman Sonja Lawrence all smacked triples. Neher, Alexandra Benevidez, Vaughn, Keana Ratcliff-Hogan and Jaqulyn Martinez singled.

“As you can imagine, there were a lot of jitters,” Bandy said. “Everyone was nervous and it showed in how we played.”

The Cougars hope to calm the nerves some when they play a doubleheader against Gavilan College in Gilroy on Thursday.

The home opener is Feb. 9 when Chabot College comes to town for a twin bill.


Head Coach: Cassidy Bell Superintendent/President: Dr. Debra Daniels
Assistant Coach:
Vice President of Student Services:
Athletic Trainer: Bruce Ferguson Athletic Director: Kanoe Bandy
  Athletic Secretary: Jennifer Edmaiston