Taft College Cougars Women's Softball

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Taft College &b WSR&PD Hold Youth Softball Camp
by Sadie Salazar
Taft College Student Writer

April 29, 2014

The Taft College Softball team joined with the West Side Recreation and Park District to hold a softball camp where kids from all ages could learn techniques while having fun. The camp was held over spring break for three days. About 40 kids participated in the camp and with the help of the Taft College Softball team the kids improved their game.

photos courtesy of Matt Henry, Taft Midway Driller

Cougars End Softball Season with a 6-1 Victory
W 6-1
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller

April 17, 2014

COALINGA – Taft College broke open a close game with a four-run seventh inning here Tuesday to close out the season with a 6-1 softball victory over West Hills College.

With the win the Cougars finish the season 7-11 in the Central Valley Conference and 9-25 overall.

Freshman third baseman Kyana Hirokane slugged two doubles and a single to drive in two runs and sophomore outfielder Mari Hernandez also drove in a pair of runs with a double and single.

No. 9 hitter Kelcie DeFreitas cracked a double and single to drive in a run, and Andrea Bouschet scored two runs.

Sophomore pitcher Cheyenne Emerson got the win with a complete-game five-hitter.  She struck out six and walked one. 

The lone Falcon run came on Kayla Day’s homer in the bottom of the sixth inning to get her team within a run, but the Cougars put the game on ice with a four-run seventh.

Hirokane, Hernandez Homer but TC Drops Pair
L 2-7 / L 7-16
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller

April 14, 2014

Kyana Hirokane and Mari Hernandez socked homeruns but Taft College couldn’t match Fresno City College’s power, and the Cougars dropped at Central Valley Conference doubleheader on the home field last Thursday.

The twin bill defeat dropped the Cougars (6-11 CVC, 8-25 overall) into fifth place heading into today’s season finale in Coalinga against last place West Hills (1-14, 4-22).

The Rams used big innings to derail the Cougars.

They had a six-run third inning that led to a 7-2 victory in the first game and came back with seven- and eight-run innings to rout TC 16-7 in the nightcap.

The Cougars managed just three hits in the opener and helped the Rams with four errors.

Hirokane belted a solo homer in the fourth. She also scored TC’s other run in the bottom of the seventh after drawing a walk.  Cheyenne Emerson got the RBI with a groundout.

In the second game the Cougars broke out on top with a three-run first but the Rams burst that bubble with a seven-run second inning, then put the game away with an eight-run fourth.

The Cougars rallied for four runs in the home half of the fifth but the game ended there on the eight-run mercy rule.

Besides Hernandez’s three-run homer, Tuiai Elisara cracked a triple to drive in two runs.

Elisara added a single and Sadie Salazar, Andrea Bouschet and Kelcie DeFreitas each had a pair of hits.

Hirokane and Emerson each had a single.

Bouschet swiped two bases and Salazar one.

Pitching statistics were unavailable.

After going hitless in the first game, Fresno leadoff hitter Rainie Thiessen went 4-for-5 in the second game.  Adriana Bencomo and Selena Ruiz each drove in four runs.  Ruiz had a homer.

CVC standings: Reedley 13-2 (19-15 overall), Fresno 13-3 (24-12), Sequoias 10-5 (21-14), Merced 7-8 (14-20), Taft 6-11 (8-25), Porterville (4-11 (12-22), West Hills-Coalinga 1-14 (4-22).

Reedley and Fresno have a showdown for the conference crown when they meet next Tuesday in a doubleheader that will close out the regular season.

TC Rides Schroeder's Pitching, 13 Hit Attack for CVC Victory
W 4-2
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller

April 3, 2014

Kacee Schroeder’s six-hit pitching combined with a 13-hit Tuesday to power Taft College to a 4-2 Central Valley Conference softball victory at Porterville College.

Kyana Hirokane banged two doubles and a single to drive in two runs and Sadie Salazar had three singles to set the pace for the Cougar offense.

The Cougars got off to a good start by scoring two runs in the first inning.

Andrea Bouschet beat out an infield grounder with one out and stole second.

After a fly ball out Hirokane, a freshman third baseman, drove an 0-2 pitch into the gap in right center to get Bouschet home with the game’s first run.

Hirokane scored on Kelcie DeFreitas’ single.

Bouschet and Hirokane teamed up again in the third to give the Cougars a 3-0 lead.

Bouschet drew a walk to lead things off and Hirokane belted a carbon copy double.  She made it to third on another DeFreitas single but was stranded there.

Porterville scored single runs in the fourth and sixth to get close, but the Cougars got an insurance run in the seventh when Hirokane walked, moved up on a grounder and scored on back-to-back Pirate errors.

Cheyenne Emerson, Tuiai Elisara and Schroeder had the other Cougar hits.

In the circle, Schroeder allowed two earned runs on six hits, struck out six and walked two.

The win improved the Cougars to 5-7 in the conference and 7-21 overall.

Next week the Cougars travel to Visalia for a single game on Tuesday and then close out the home season by hosting Fresno in a Thursday doubleheader.

TC finishes the season April 15 at West Hills-Coalinga.

Taft College @ Porterville College
W 4-2
by Sadie Salazar
April 1, 2014

Taft College traveled to Porterville on Tuesday to face the Pirates. Kacee Schroeder took  the mound leading the defense to shut down Pirate offense in the 1st.  Andrea Bouschet hit a single over the third baseman’s head, then steals to second base to place herself in scoring position. Kyana Hirokane whacks a double and scores Bouschet. Kelsey DeFreitas hits a single that scores Hirokane.  In the top of the 3rd  Bouschet gets walked, then steals to second. Mari Hernandez at bat, gets a hit but only enough to move Bouschet over to third. Hirokane then hit her second double of the day, allowing Bouschet to advance home (3-0).  In the bottom of the 4th, Cougar defense allows the Pirates to score one run (3-1). Bottom of the 6th Schroeder gives up a walk off homer, but cougars stay ahead 3-2. In the top of the 7th inning Hirokane gets walked and DeFreitas moves Hirokane to second. Cheyenne Emerson moves Hirokane to third, and next up to bat Tuiai Elisara brings Hirokane home. TC closes the game with three batters out, taking the win 4-2.

Six Magic Number for Cougar Softball Team
W 6-5
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller

March 24, 2014

Six was a good number for Taft College’s softball team last Thursday as the Cougars swept West Hills-Coalinga in a Central Valley Conference doubleheader.

The Cougars scored six times over the first two innings and held on for a 6-5 victory in the first game.

In fact, all the scoring was done in the first three frames.  West Hills did its damage with two in the first and three in the third.

The Cougars had it a bit easier in the second game by building up a 6-run lead before the Falcons scored twice in the sixth.

After spotting West Hills a pair of runs to get the afternoon started, the Cougars tied it on a walk, single, groundout and RBI double off the bat of Kelcie DeFreitas.

TC got four in the second inning on Sadie Salazar’s grand slam homerun.

The freshman shortstop from Hawaii sliced a 3-and-2 pitch down the right field line and used her speed to do the rest, beating the throw to the plate.

Scoring ahead of her were Cheyenne Emerson (walk), Kacee Schroeder (walk) and Andrea Bouschet (single).

That’s all the Cougars needed.

Emerson came on in relief in the second after starter Schroeder ran into trouble in the first.

Schroeder bounced back to win the second game, though, with a solid performance.

She went the distance, giving up two earned runs on seven hits and striking out 10 batters.

Meanwhile, her teammates were giving support with nine hits.

Emerson had a double and single to drive in two runs, Kyana Hirokane tripled and singled with an RBI and Mari Hernandez tripled and drove in two runs.

Salazar, Bouschet, DeFreitas and Tuiai Elisara all had singles.

The Cougars (4-5 CVC, 6-19 overall) draw the conference bye today before hosting Merced (2-5, 8-16) for a doubleheader on Thursday.  The first game starts at 1 p.m.

Taft College vs West Hills College (DH)
W 6-5/ 6-2
by Sadie Salazar
March 20, 2014

Game 1:
TC hosted a double header against West Hills College on Thursday, March 20, 2014. Cheyanne Emerson started on the mound and the Cougar’s defense gave up two runs. However, Cougars offense made it up and scored two runs in the bottom of the first to tie the game. In the second Emerson gave up a two run homer and another homerun giving West Hills the lead with a score of 2-5. TC’s offense rallied with Emerson getting on first. Tuiai Elisara gets a hit putting two runners on. Kacee Schroeder picks up a single from fielder’s choice but Emerson gets out. Andrea Bouschet gets a walk and bases are loaded as Sadie Salazar comes up to bat. Salazar hits an in park home run bringing in four (6-5). The next five innings were all defense and TC gets the win!

Game 2:
Kacee Schroeder started on the mound in game 2 for Cougar defense. Schroeder puts down the first three batters. Leadoff batter Andrea Bouschet scores TC’s first run. In the second Schroeder once again puts down the next three batters. On Cougar offense Kelcie DeFreitas and Leona Kealoha scored one run apiece. TC holds a tight D in the third and on offense Sadie Salazar and Kyana HIrokane scored one each changing the score to 5-0. TC keeps up the energy in the fifth, scoring one from Hirokane as the defense stops West Hills from scoring. In the sixth West Hills scored two runs making it 6-2, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Cougars.

Taft College @ Fresno City College
L 1-2
by Sadie Salazar
March 18, 2014

The Cougars traveled to Fresno City College March 18, 2014. In the first inning both both teams go three batters up and three batters out. In the second inning Mari Hernandez strokes a ball deep over the Ram’s center fielder to start of fthe Cougars strong. Kailynn Miller gets walked and Tuiai Elisara hits a single to bring Hernandez in and move Miller over. Cougars take the lead early on. Kacee Schroeder started on the mound; with the help of the defense, refused to let the Rams score until the 4th when the Rams scored one run to tie up the game. Both teams fought to take the lead but it wasn’t until the bottom of seventh when the Rams snuck in a run to win the game 1-2.

Taft College @ Merced College
W 6-2
by Sadie Salazar
March 7, 2014

TC traveled to Merced College on Friday, March 7, after being rained out on the 4th,  to play their third game in conference. The Cougars scored 3 runs in the first inning. Sadie Salazar hit a single, followed by the number three batter, Kyana Hirokane who wacked a double and moved Salazar to third. Mari Hernandez came up to bat and hit a double bringing in Salazar and Hirokane. Kelcie DeFreitas flies out to center field allowing Mari to tag up and score at home. Merced scores one in the second. Still in the lead going into the third, Salazar hit a single and Hirokane gets another RBI bringing in Salazar. Cougars get out of the third inning 4-2. Kailynn Miller and Tuiai Elisara also scored one each as  TC shut down the Merced offense and won the game 6-2.

Taft College vs Allan Hancock College
L 0-2
by Sadie Salazar
February 20, 2014

Taft College travels to Santa Maria to play Allan Hancock College on Thursday February 20th.  TC allows Hancock to score two runs in the first inning. The remainder of the game the was all defense for both teams, leaving both teams scoreless for the next 5 innings. Taft College gets the loss 0-2.

Taft College vs Hartnell College (DH)
L 2-3/ L 4-5
by Sadie Salazar
February 18, 2014

Game 1:
On Tuesday, February 18 Taft College travels to Salinas to face Hartnell College. Cougar offense opens the game scoring one run in the 1st inning. Cougar defense stops Hartnell from scoring any runs until the 5th inning, where the panthers score two runs. Both teams’ defense refuses to let any runs to be scored in the 6th.  In the 7th inning TC scores one run; bottom of the 7th panthers score one run as well, getting the win 3-2.

Game 2:
The Cougars fall short again in game two against Hartnell College.  Both teams fail to score in the first two innings of the game. The Panthers score 3 runs in the bottom of the third. Cougar’s offense starts up in the 4th scoring one run. In the top of the 5th, the Cougars keep the momentum going and score three more runs, while the Cougar defense holds the Panthers at 3. TC gains the lead over Hartnell 4-3. Cougars drop the ball in the 6th giving up two runs.  Panthers creep up from behind and steal the win 5-4.

Taft College vs Bakersfield College
L 9-12
by Sadie Salazar
February 14, 2014

Next up TC faces Bakersfield College. For the first time TC gets ahead in the game 3-0 in the first inning. However, TC’s lead is short lived when they allow BC to score 5 in the second. TC does not give up the rally scoring two in the 3rd. Both teams are fighting to win the game. BC scores two more runs in the 4th. TC scores one in the fifth but the Renegades put up 5 more runs.  Both teams maintain a solid defense in the 6th. Trailing behind the Renegades the Cougars score 3 runs in the seventh but it wasn’t enough to get the win. TC falls short 9-12.

Taft College vs Santiago Canyon College
L 1-4
by Sadie Salazar
February 14, 2014

The Cougars headed to Bakersfield College on Friday to face Santiago Canyon College and Bakersfield College. 
After demolishing Bakersfield College 21-0 in 5 innings, Santiago Canyon is ready to face Taft College, expecting to run rule the Cougars as well, but only scores one in the 1st. TC’s defense halts any rally from starting. Cougar offense puts one on the board in the third to tie the game. Cougars hold Santiago until the 5th allowing one run to be scored. Santiago Canyon scores two more runs in the 6th. Cougar offense can’t get anything going, ending the game 1-4.

Taft College vs San Joaquin Delta College (DH)
L 0-8/ L 2-3
by Sadie Salazar
February 11, 2014

Game 1:
Taft College travels to San Joaquin Delta College for a double header on Tuesday.  Unable to shake off the loss on Friday, the Cougars struggle to bring their game.  Delta puts six runs on them in the first inning. Delta puts two more runs on the board, leaving the Cougars down by 8. TC’s defense does not allow any more runs to be scored. Unable to get anything going, TC loses 0-8.

Game 2:
Taft College comes out ready to play the second game. Delta College struggles to hit off TC’s pitcher Kacee Schroeder until the 3rd inning when they scored two runs. TC manages to hold Delta at 0-2 until the 6th inning, when Delta squeezes one more run from the Cougars. In the 7th inning Cheyenne Emerson starts off the Cougar rally with a single. Andrea Bouschet gets on and moves Emerson over. Sadie Salazar gets the RBI to bring in Emerson and put one on the board for TC. Salazar with the steal at second trips up the short stop and Bouschet advances home. The score is 2-3 and TC has a runner in scoring position but the Cougars fall short once again unable to move the runner over. The score remains 2-3.

Taft College vs West Valley College (DH)
L 3-7/ L 7-8
by Sadie Salazar
February 7, 2014

Game 1:
Taft College hosted West Valley College at home for double header action on Friday. The Vikings jumped out to an early lead, and a late Taft College rally. West Valley keeps their momentum rolling scoring two more runs in the 3rd, TC struggles to get a rally started. In the 4th inning the Vikings add four runs to the board, ending the 4thwith the score of 0-7. Cougars try to gain momentum in the bottom of the fifth, Mari Hernandez in scoring position. Kelcie DeFreitas hits a homerun to bring in Hernandez. In 6th inning Vikings fail to score, but TC’s Kailynn Miller gets an RBI bringing DeFreitas in . Cougars drop the game 3-7.

Game 2:
West Valley starts the game taking advantage of the TC’s lack of energy sweeping them 0-5 by the second inning. Cougars score one in the bottom of the fourth. Vikings add a run to their lead in the top of the 5th, as TC battles scoring five runs in the bottom of the 5th. Cougars refuse to roll over tying up the score 6-6. Under pressure Vikings score two runs in the 6th. TC gains a run in the 6th as well. It all comes down to the last inning. The Cougars without a problem get three outs, however West Valley doesn’t allow the Cougars runner in scoring position to score. West Valley pulls out a win 8-7.

Taft College vs San Jose City College (DH)
L 1-8/ L 4-11
by Sadie Salazar
February 1, 2014

Game 1
On February 1 the Taft College Cougars travel to San Jose City College. Kacee Schroeder starts on the mound. Three runs are given up in the 1st inning. TC answers back with a run scored in the second inning and a tough defense to hold the Jaguars 3-1 until the 5th. TC allows one more run in the 5th and struggles to answer back. In the 6th the Jaguars put four more runs on the board. San Jose City earns the win 8-1.

Game 2
Aiming to improve their mistakes in the first game, Taft College loses control early on. Cheyanne Emerson gives up three homeruns back to back in the 1st inning. Down six runs in the 2nd, Schroeder comes in to relieve Emerson. Schroeder gives up three homers as well; the Jaguars continue to push the Cougars further behind. TC tries to make a comeback scoring four runs in the 4th inning. Unable to take the win, TC loses 4-11.

Taft College vs Bakersfield College & Cuesta College
L 2-3/ L 6-7
by Sadie Salazar
January 30, 2014

Taft vs Bakersfield
The Taft College Cougars made an appearance at the Dean & Adah Gay Sports Complex, on Thursday, to face the Bakersfield College Renegades. Kacee Schroeder started on the mound pitching all seven innings. Schroeder allowed three runs, but her teammates attempted to gain the lead over the Renegades scoring two runs. Cougar defense refused to allow the Renegades to score. Top of the 7th, the Cougars have runners in scoring position. Schroeder’s up to bat with two outs, she rips it to right center field, but center fielder for the Renegades makes a diving catch to stop the Cougars. The final score remained 2-3, Renegades stealing the win.

Taft vs Cuesta
After playing the Renegades, the Cougars stay warm to take on Cuesta College. Returning sophomore Cheyanne Emerson comes in to pitch. Taft College gives up five runs in the first two innings. With perseverance the Cougars hold Cuesta at five runs until the 5th inning, and score four runs. By the 6thinning, Cougars stay in the fight to hold Cuesta College at five runs. Cougars are up to bat to fight to stay alive, scoring two more runs, making the score 6-5. In the 7th inning Schroeder relieves Emerson, however Cuesta puts up two more runs on the scoreboard. It’s do or die for TC, after a great come back, the Cougars fall short. Cuesta comes out on top 7-6.

Taft College Baseball and Softball teams host Triple Play Dinner with Dave Dravecky as Guest Speaker
by Travis Tessandori
January 11, 2014

click here for photo gallery

The Taft College baseball and softball programs hosted the Triple Play Dinner and Auction on January 11th to help with fundraising for the upcoming season.

The event was catered by Salty’s BBQ of Bakersfiled CA and dessert from Amanda’s Delightful Bites of Wasco CA.

There were a live auction and a silent auction featuring some great items, such as; an autographed Patrick Willis football, an autographed Orel Hershiser baseball, San Francisco Giants memorabilia, and many other jaw-dropping items.

The event also included a speech from former MLB pitcher and author, Dave Dravecky. Dravecky, who had a short but illustrious career, told the wonderful story of his trip to and out of the big leagues. After making it to the Major Leagues in 1982, Dravecky quickly made the All-Star team and also pitched brilliantly in two World Series games for the San Diego Padres in 1984. When traded to the Giants in 1987, Dravecky carried them to a National League West title but was struck with cancer in his throwing arm just a year later. In the NLCS, he pitched in two games and only allowed 1 run in 15 innings pitched.  Treatment allowed for an attempted comeback in 1989, only to fail and have Dravecky’s arm amputated bringing a hopeful career to a quick end.

Dravecky spoke to the men and woman Cougars privately before speaking to the whole crowd, a speech in which Head Baseball Coach Vince Maiocco said, “He had a great message of overcoming adversity. If you look at it from a baseball standpoint and in turn it can also correlate directly to life. His point of dreaming big, hit home with me, and if you don’t attain your dream then create another one. He touched on every facet of life, and somehow through all of the seriousness in his story he even managed to keep it humorous.”

The dinner all in all was a huge success, and both programs are very thankful for Dave Dravecky and his wife Jan’s presence, as well as, all of our sponsors and supporters.

TC Softballer Win on Walkoff Homerun
Taft Midway Driller
February 20, 2013

Sophomore shortstop Ashley McKeown socked a two-run walk-off homerun in the bottom of the seventh Monday to give the Taft College softball team a 5-4 non-conference victory over Gavilan College.

McKeown’s game-winner capped a four-run inning.

Brooklyn Amador set the table for McKeown’s shot 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.

The win evens the Cougar record at 6-6.  Gavilan is 5-5.

The Cougars host Allan Hancock College Thursday in a twin bill at the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center.  The action begins at noon.

Loss to West Hills Jolts TC Playoff Hopes
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
April 23, 2012

Taft, California-

West Hills College sophomore Jasmayne Nettingham’s big day last Thursday may have ruined any hope the Taft College softball team had of making the playoffs.

After the Cougars defeated the visitors from Coalinga 9-4 in the opening game of a Central Valley Conference doubleheader, the Falcons rode the bat and arm of Nettingham for a 6-1 victory in the second game.

It was the final game of the regular season for the Cougars (9-9 CVC, 14-24 overall) who figured to sweep a West Hills team that came into the day with just a single win in 36 previous games.

Taft and Reedley have been battling for third place in the conference, both clinging to hopes of a playoff berth. The Tigers (9-7, 19-18) finish the regular season today with a doubleheader against Sequoias (13-3, 26-8 overall). TC won two of the three head-to-head games.

“It’s out of our hands now,” said head coach Stefanie Walsh.

Nettingham was an unlikely hero.

Coming into the day she was 14-of-47 at the plate with one double and four runs batted in, but against TC she slugged a solo homer over the centerfield fence in the last inning of the first-game loss.

Cougars win a pair of CVC Softball Contests
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
April 19, 2012

Porterville, California-
Taft College won back-to-back Central Valley Conference softball games in strikingly different fashion.
The Cougars used the dramatic long ball to beat Reedley 7-4 in 10 innings a week ago and then had to stave off a last-inning rally to edge Porterville 4-3 on Tuesday.

The victories evened TC’s conference record at 8-8. The Cougars are 13-23 overall.
Taft and Reedley (8-6) are battling it out for third place in the conference behind College of the Sequoias (13-2) and Fresno (12-2).

“The girls really did a good job in that game with Reedley,” head coach Stefanie Walsh said.
Alex Holland and Stephanie Keith slugged homers that were the difference.

With the Cougars trailing 4-2, Holland drilled her seventh of the season over the centerfield fence at the Cougar Sports Center to lead off the bottom of the sixth.

Brittany Peterson and Ashley McKeown followed with singles, and a groundout scored the tying run.

The score remained knotted until the 10th when Jessica Neher grounded a leadoff single. After a popup, Chelsea Eli-Kido beat out an infield single.

Keith then drove one over the centerfield fence – her third of the season – to end the game.
The Cougars had 16 hits on the day.

McKeown went 4-for-5 and Holland 3-for-5 while Neher and Peterson had two hits each.

Neher and Holland evenly divided the pitching chores and gave up two earned runs apiece. Neher struck out one and walked six and Holland had four strikeouts and two walks.

At Porterville, Neher out-dueled Samantha Nalley.

Neher allowed three unearned runs on six hits, struck out four and walked one.

Nalley was the hard-luck loser.

She pitched her best game of the season, giving up four runs on just four hits, striking out 15 and walking none.

Pirate coach Vickie Dugan said Nalley’s performance set a Porterville single season strikeout record. She has 202 with at least two starts remaining, breaking the old mark of 196. She leads the conference in strikeouts and has the third best earned run average in the CVC at 2.09.

TC made the most of its four hits.

Singles by Andrea Bouschet and Brooklyn Amador, coupled with Keith’s sacrifice bunt and a passed ball produced two runs in the fourth.

Amador banged a one-out double to right center in the sixth, went to third on a passed ball and scored on defensive indifference.

TC scored what proved to be the winning run in the top of the seventh.

Pinch hitter Kendy Reynoso was safe on an error, stole second and third and scored on Neher’s sacrifice fly.

Porterville scored all of its runs in the bottom of the seventh when the 8 and 9 hitters got aboard on back-to-back infield miscues. A double – the only extra-base hit the Pirates had – and two groundouts plated the runs.

“They came together and finished it up,” Walsh said after the last-inning scare. “We are an inexperienced team, but they showed their growth by overcoming that adversity.

Ponytail Ceremony will be held Saturday
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
April 11, 2012

Taft, California -
A couple of weeks ago the West Side Little League celebrated the opening of their season. Now the West Side Recreation and Park District will get that chance this Saturday when they hold the opening ceremony for Ponytail softball at Franklin Field.

The ceremony gets underway at 10 a.m. with the parade and introduction of teams. Highlights of the ceremony include the first pitch and a presentation from Chevron. Lunch will follow the ceremony along with an exhibition from the Taft College softball team.

At noon the player clinics, led by the Taft College softball team will begin. Division I players will have their clinic at noon while the Division II players will start at 1 p.m., while Division III begins at 2 p.m.

Holland's Homer Lone TC Run in Loss
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
April 2, 2012

Fresno, Calif. — Vanessa Salinas gave her Fresno City College teammates a day off in last Thursday’s Central Valley Conference softball game with visiting Taft College. The sophomore pitcher from Madera accounted for 17 of the 21 outs all by herself – all of them strikeouts as the league-leading Rams cruised to a 7-1 victory. Salinas struck out the side four times and had at least two strikeouts in every inning except the sixth.

The Cougars managed just two hits – Alex Holland’s solo homer in the fourth and an infield dribbler that leadoff hitter Chelsea Eli-Kido beat out for a single in the seventh. TC’s only other base runners came on three walks. Holland’s dinger was her sixth of the season, which ties her for the conference lead.  It also produced her 34th RBI – tops in the CVC.

First baseman Tiffany Baladares led Fresno’s 12-hit attack with a homer and double to drive in three runs. Salinas improved her record to 11-5.  She has a 1.26 earned run average with 120 strikeouts.

Cougar starter Jessica Neher worked two and two-thirds innings, gave up three earned runs on seven hits, struck out one and walked one.  Peyton Buen was touched for three earned runs on five hits and two walks. The loss evens Taft’s conference record at 6-6, 11-21 overall heading into this afternoon’s doubleheader with College of the Sequoias (8-2, 21-7).

Fresno, ranked ninth in the state, is 11-1 in the CVC and 22-10 overall.

Reynoso's Perfect Day Lifts Cougar Softball Team
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
March 29, 2012

Taft, Calif. — Kendy Reynoso had a pretty memorable day Tuesday in her first start for the Taft College softball team. The little used freshman infielder from Las Vegas got the starting call as the Cougar clean-up hitter in a doubleheader against visiting Merced College and made the most of it.

She went 6-for-6 as the Cougars split the twin bill – losing the first game 7-3 but winning the second when Reynoso was 4-for-4 with a homerun, double and two singles to drive in four runs. Reynoso had singles in her only two at-bats in the opener. She drove in two runs with a single during TC’s seven-run rally in the fifth inning of the second game before putting an exclamation point on the scoring with a two-run homer in the sixth.

Stephanie Keith was 4-for-7 on the day with a double and an RBI, Brooklyn Amador homered, doubled and singled to drive in a pair, Ashley McKeown cracked a pair of doubles and a single and Chelsea Eli-Kido had three hits.

Alex Holland, who pitched the win in the second game, had two hits and drove in two runs. Holland and Merced’s Danielle Alemeida were locked in a pitching duel through the first four innings with the Blue Devils leading 2-0. That’s when the Cougars erupted for seven runs on seven hits in the fifth.  Holland and Reynoso had back-to-back two-run singles and Amador drove in a run with a double.

Holland pitched a complete game, allowing two earned runs on five hits, striking out five and walking two. She also relieved first-game starter Jessica Neher in the fifth inning, shutting out the Blue Devils with three strikeouts and two walks.  Neher gave up seven earned runs on 11 hits, struck out three and walked three. Both teams had 14 hits in the first game, but the Cougars stranded 10 runners – five in scoring position. The split left the Cougars with a 6-5 record in the Central Valley Conference (11-19 overall).

Next Tuesday, TC entertains College of the Sequoias, the CVC’s best hitting team with a .394 team batting average.  The Cougars are tied for second with a .300 average.  The first game begins at 2 p.m.

Neher's Two Hit Shutout Helps TC Win a Pair
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
March 22, 2012

Taft, Calif. — Freshman Jessica Neher pitched a two-hit shutout and struck out 13 batters Tuesday to help guide Taft College to a doubleheader sweep over visiting Porterville College.

Neher, who prepped at Taft High, allowed back-to-back singles with one out in the second inning and walked two in the third before retiring the final 13 batters she faced.At one point she struck out six batters in a row.“Jessica threw the ball extremely well,” said head coach Stefanie Walsh.  “She was pretty much in a zone.  That was a very impressive performance.”

Stephanie Keith slugged a three-run homer to highlight a 10-hit attack that backed up Neher in the Cougars 7-0 opening game win.TC won the second game 11-4 to improve to 4-4 in the Central Valley Conference and 9-16 overall.

Alex Holland pitched the win and smacked her fourth homer of the season – a two-run shot to right center in the fourth inning. She leads the team with a .457 batting average (third best in the CVC), 32 hits (tied for third) and 24 runs batted in (third best).  Her four homers ties her for second.As designated hitter, she also had a hit in the first game.  She walked four times on the day – three intentionally.In the circle, Holland scattered 10 hits, struck out seven and walked five.  Only one of Porterville’s four runs was earned.

Leadoff hitter Chelsea Eli-Kido had a big day at the plate.  She had a double and five singles in eight at-bats and scored four runs. Third baseman Brooklyn Amador socked a solo homer, double and single to drive in three runs.  She’s hitting .406 with eight doubles, three triples and two homers for 15 RBIs. Shortstop Ashley McKeown had a solo homer and two singles, first baseman Peyton Buen two doubles and a single and scored three times, and Andrea Boulshet, Mari Hernandez and Neher each singled.

The Cougar defense also impressed the coach. “Our defense did a very good job supporting our pitchers,” Walsh said.  “We hit the ball very well.  I think it was the first time in a doubleheader that we really put together all phases of the game. It was a great, smooth day.”

She hopes that will carry over into the weekend when the Cougars get in three non-conference games against quality teams – all of them at Bakersfield College.  TC will play state No. 12 BC (15-6) at 10 a.m. Saturday and on Sunday Santa Barbara City College (12-10) at 10 a.m. and No. 13 Riverside City College (14-7) at noon. Next Tuesday the Cougars host Merced in a doubleheader at 2 and 4.

Cougars Softball Can't Overcome Early Deficit, loses 5-9 to COS
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
March 12, 2012

Visalia, Calif. — A 9-0 deficit was too much for the Taft College softball team to overcome last Thursday when the Cougars dropped a 9-5 Central Valley Conference game to College of the Sequoias in Visalia. The league-leading Giants (4-0, 17-5 overall), with a team batting average of .367, scored early to take a 9-0 advantage into the fifth inning. That’s when the Cougars scrapped back with three runs to avoid being run-ruled. They mounted threats in the sixth and seventh but managed only a run in each inning after leaving four runners in scoring position

The loss drops TC to 1-3 in the conference and 6-15 overall heading into today’s doubleheader at Reedley (1-2, 9-10).  The Cougars have the conference bye on Thursday and will host Porterville next Tuesday for two games.

Brooklyn Amador and Ashley McKeown both went 2-for-4, Kendy Reynoso had a two-run single, Alex Holland a double and Sisilia Tuipolotu, Mari Hernandez and Peyton Buen singles.  Hernandez’s hit drove in a run.
Holland and Jessica Neher split the pitching chores. Neher started and went two and a third innings. She gave up five earned runs on seven hits and walked one batter. Holland, who leads the team with a .467 batting average and 21 runs batted in, worked the final three and two-thirds, giving up one earned run on four hits with a strikeout and three walks. The top of the order for COS did the most damage, going 8-for-13 to drive in four runs;

Cougars Score at Will in Twin Bill Sweep
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
April 11, 2011

Taft College banged out 23 hits last Thursday in a Central Valley Conference softball doubleheader sweep at Merced College. The Cougars beat the Blue Devils 19-5 and 13-3 in a pair of games halted after five innings by the eight-run mercy rule. “We hit the ball really well,” said head coach Stefanie Walsh, “and both of our pitchers threw very well. The biggest thing is that our hitters continued to produce.” The Cougars rode an 11-run second inning in the first game when they had just four hits but took advantage of six walks and two errors. Courtney Nyetrae led the way with a 4-for-5 effort to drive in five runs.

In the second game the Cougars were more consistent, scoring three runs in each of the first four innings with leadoff batter Joya Cervera going 3-for-3 to drive in three runs. Brittany Peterson had a solo homer and a two-run single. Nyetrae finished the day 5-for-8 and drove in five runs while Peterson was 4-for-6, also with five RBIs. Cervera and Kelcey Viliamu were 4-for-6 and each drove in four runs. Viliamu had two doubles.

Sophomore Allie Carrigan and freshman Kaylea Wigley shared the pitching duties in both games. Carrigan finished with three earned runs on just one hit, struck out five and walked three in four and two-thirds innings while Wigley worked five and a third, allowing five earned runs on nine hits. “This was huge for us heading into the last stretch of games,” Walsh said. “It was important for us to get our bats back on track.” It was a long day, she said, because of intermittent rain that forced several stoppages. “I thought we handled all the interruptions very well,” she said.

The Cougars (4-8 CVC, 11-19 overall) are in Reedley (11-1 CVC, 19-13 overall) today for a single game against the conference leader and will host College of the Sequoias (11 4, 23-8) in a Thursday doubleheader that begins at 2 p.m. They close out the season next Tuesday at West Hills. “Hopefully, we can play the spoiler role,” Walsh said of the games against the top two teams in the CVC

Cougars Lose Softball Doubleheader
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
April 7, 2011

A pair of fielding errors in the bottom of the seventh inning cost the Taft College softball team a split of a Central Valley Conference doubleheader. After Porterville eked out a 3-2 win in the opener, the Cougars broke a tie in the second game with a run in the top of the seventh to take a 5-4 lead. The Pirates combined two infield errors with two hits for the game-winner in the home half of the inning. Porterville jumped out to a 4-0 lead early before the Cougars came back to tie it with three runs in the fourth and one in the fifth. The Pirates (7-2 CVC, 11-13 overall) scored early in the first game, too, taking a 3-0 lead before the Cougars scored one each in the fourth and fifth before Samantha Nalley blanked them the rest of the way.

Courtney Nyetrae and Bayley Day had three hits on the day. Nyetrae had a double. Shelbe Pennel doubled and singled and Andrea Garza had two singles. Kaylea Wigley pitched the opener for the Cougars, striking out two and walking six. She gave up three runs on six hits. Allie Carrigan worked the second game, giving up six runs on nine hits, striking out four and walking two. The Cougars (3-8 CVC, 11-19 overall) travel to Coalinga next Tuesday for the regular season finale against West Hills College.

Big Hits Power Cougar Softball Sweep
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
March 28, 2011

Softball3.28.11Taft College collected 26 hits – including a homer, two triples and five doubles – last Thursday in sweeping a Central Valley Conference softball doubleheader from visiting West Hills College. The scores were 9-1 in the first game, which ended in the sixth on the eight-run rule, and 5-4 in an eight-inning second game that ended on Brittany Peterson’s walk-off triple off the top of the left field fence.  It was her second triple of the game and her 17th RBI of season, which is tops on the team and second in the conference. Peterson, a freshman third baseman, had four hits on the day and scored twice. Sophomore first baseman Kelcey Viliamu smashed a towering two-run homer in the first game to lead the Cougars’ 16-hit attack by going 4-for-4 and driving in four runs.

Leadoff batter Joya Cervera was 5-for-8 on the day to drive in two runs.  She scored three times. Andrea Garza, Baylee Day and Shelbe Pennel all had three hits. “The girls were able to get the bat on the ball,” said head coach Stefanie Walsh.  “They were able to string together hits in the first game.  Their confidence level is up.  I feel much better about their bats moving.” Allie Carrigan got both pitching wins.  She didn’t allow a run in 12 2/3 innings, struck out nine and walked three. The Cougars (4-5 CVC, 11-16 overall) host Fresno City College (6-2, 15-9) today in a single game that could see plenty of hits.  Fresno leads the CVC in hitting with a .336 team batting average while the Cougars are third with a .286 average. TC, which has played more games, leads the league in hits with 200 and in homeruns with 17.  Fresno has 14 homers and leads the conference with 43 doubles.

Cougars Softball, Baseball Teams Win Thursday Games
by Doug Keeler
Taft Midway Driller
March 25, 2011

Taft College’s baseball and softball teams were victorious Thursday in Central Valley Conference games against West Hills College.

BASEBALL Braden Keathly did not allow an earned run in seven innings and Anthony Uran went 3-for-5 to drive in two runs as the Cougars defeated the Falcons 5-1 in Coalinga. It was TC’s sixth consecutive conference victory and runs the Cougar record to 7-4 (15-7 overall). The teams are scheduled to play the finale of the three-game series Saturday in Coalinga, weather permitting. TC is scheduled to open another three-game CVC set Tuesday by hosting College of the Sequoias at 2 p.m. The Cougars and Falcons were locked in a tight game until TC scored three times in the top of the ninth. Taft had 12 hits led by Uran’s 3-for-5 day. Pierce Belaustegui cracked two doubles and Nathan Slaymaker singled twice. Keathley pushed his record to 4-2 on the season. He scattered six hits, struck out eight and walked one.

SOFTBALL The Cougars swept a conference doubleheader from the Falcons, 9-1 and 5-4, at TC. The second game went eight innings and ended on Brittany Peterson’s walk-off triple off the top of the left field fence. Peterson, a freshman third baseman, had four hits on the day and scored twice. Sophomore first baseman Kelcey Viliamu smashed a towering two-run homer in the first game to lead the Cougars’ 16-hit attack by going 4-for-4 and driving in four runs. Leadoff batter Joya Cervera was 5-for-8 on the day to drive in two runs. She scored three times. Andrea Garza, Baylee Day and Shelbe Pennel all had three hits. “The girls were able to get the bat on the ball,” said head coach Stefanie Walsh. “They were able to string together hits in the first game. Their confidence level is up. I feel much better about their bats moving.” Allie Carrigan got both pitching wins. She didn’t allow a run in 12 2/3 innings, struck out nine and walked three. TC is scheduled to play non-conference games against Chabot and West Valley Colleges Saturday in Hayward and will host Fresno City College next Tuesday at 2 in a conference game.


Cougars Drop CVC Softball Doubleheader
Taft Midway Driller
March 24, 2011

Softball3.24.11Central Valley Conference softball pacesetter Reedley College blanked Taft College twice Tuesday to remain unbeaten in league play. Stephanie Holiday pitched 12 1/3 innings of shutout ball to earn the win in both games as the Tigers beat the Cougars 6-0 in the opener before squeaking by 1-0 in the second game. Both were played at TC. Holiday scattered six hits in the first game, including two singles each from Baylee Day and Chanel Nelson. She allowed the Cougars just three runners in scoring position. The Tigers (8-0 CVC, 14-10 overall) banged nine hits, including two doubles and a two-run homer from leadoff batter Brooke Nasalroad.

Allie Carrigan started for the Cougars (2-5 CVC, 9-14 overall) but gave way to Kaylea Wigley with two out in the second after giving up two runs on two hits and an error. She struck out three and did not walk a batter. Wigley gave up four runs on seven hits. The Cougars couldn’t take advantage of a 9-4 hitting advantage in the second game. “We did better in the second game, but we just couldn’t string hits together,” said head coach Stefanie Walsh. The first inning was an example. The Cougars loaded the bases with one out on Joya Cervera’s leadoff walk and singles by Andrea Garza and Kelcey Viliamu sandwiched around a fly ball out. Catcher Courtney Nyetrae lined a 2-1 pitch to the deepest part of center field, but Nasalroad flagged it down. A groundout ended the inning.

The Cougars had a runner thrown out at the plate in the second on a disputed call. All that action was against Tiger starter Kassandra Benson who handed the ball over to Holiday with two out in the second. Holiday gave up four singles – two in the third and two in the sixth, but the Cougars couldn’t cash them in. Viliamu finished 3-for-3 and Garza 2-for-3 to give her three hits on the day. Carrigan went the distance, giving up the game’s only run in the third on a one-out single, sacrifice and an RBI single up the middle by Kayla Perez. Carrigan gave up four hits, struck out four and walked two.

Cougars 7, Gavilan 4 Last Friday, the Cougars defeated Gavilan College 7-4 in a non-conference game played in Visalia. The Cougars did all their scoring in the first three innings before Gavilan scored in the fifth and sixth. TC got nine hits from seven different batters. Garza and Shelbe Pennel were both 2-for-3, Viliamu cracked a double and Carrigan a two-run homer in the third to finish off the Cougar scoring. It was her fifth of the season and leads the team and conference. She worked the first two innings, giving up just one hit and striking out two. Wigley finished, giving up two earned runs on seven hits with one strikeout. The Cougars travel to Hayward Saturday for a pair of non-conference games against Chabot and West Valley, the latter coached by U.S. Olympian (2008) and University of California All-American Vicky Galindo.

Nine Run First Paces Cougar Softball Win
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
March 14, 2011

Softball3.14.11A nine-run first inning guided Taft College to a 10-1 Central Valley Conference softball victory last Thursday over visiting Merced College. The Cougars used five hits, three walks, two hit batters and an error to jump out to a big lead in their first at-bat. First baseman Kelcey Viliamu walked and scored and later cracked a two-run single to make it 9-0. Leadoff batter Joya Cervera got it all started by drilling a single up the middle and later walked with the bases loaded. Courtney Nyetrae, Baylee Day, and Brittany Peterson all had RBI singles. Allie Carrigan drove in the other Cougar run in the fourth when TC bunched three hits. Merced got a hit, an error and a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth for the Blue Devils’ lone run.

The game was then halted by the eight-run mercy rule. Freshman Kaylea Wigley went the distance to get the pitching win. With the victory, the Cougars even their conference record at 2-2 (8-13 overall) heading into Thursday’s game in Visalia against College of the Sequoias (3-1, 13-4). TC’s next home engagement is next Tuesday when Reedley comes to town for a doubleheader that begins at 2 p.m. Carrigan leads the Cougar hitters with a .439 average, which ranks her third in the conference behind Sequoias’ Jennifer Pecada (.458). Carrigan has six doubles and three homers among her 18 hits. She has scored 10 times. Carrigan also shoulders most of the pitching chores. She has an earned run average of 2.95 and has thrown 94.6 innings, which is tops among conference teams. She leads the league in strikeouts with 57. Day is hitting .378, Nyetrae .345, and Andrea Garza .304. The Cougars lead the conference in homers with 15. The next best is West Hills with eight. Peterson has four, Carrigan and Viliamu three each, Nyetrae and Chanel Nielsen two each and Cervera one.

TC Softballers Split with Fresno
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
March 10, 2011

Taft College and Fresno City College called it even Tuesday after splitting one-run Central Valley Conference games. The Rams won the opener 4-3 with a run in the bottom of the seventh, but the Cougars bounced back to claim the second game 8-7. The Cougars continued to hit the ball well, building on a 33-hit binge in last weekend’s tournament in Fresno. This time, they banged 20 hits to give them 53 in four days. “We came out hitting the ball right away,” said head coach Stefanie Walsh. “It was really back and forth all day. We were pretty evenly matched.”

Cougar pitcher Allie Carrigan belted two homers – one in each game, leadoff hitter Joya Cervera went 5-for-7 with a homer, Courtney Nyetrae was 4-for-7 and Baylee Day 3-for-8. Carrigan took the loss in the first game, giving up three earned runs on 10 hits, striking out four and walking two. Kaylea Wigley started the second game, but gave up three runs in the first inning. Carrigan pitched the last six to get the win, giving up four runs on seven hits, striking out two and walking three. Walsh thinks the conference could be an interesting race. “At this point it’s kind of anybody’s game,” she said. “If we keep playing the way we have the last seven or eight games, we should have a pretty good shot at it.”

The three homers in the Fresno doubleheader gave the Cougars 10 in four days. Brittany Peterson slugged three homers in going 6-for-13 in the Fresno tournament. She drove in eight runs. Kelcey Viliamu belted two and drove in five runs and Carrigan and Chanel Nielsen joined the hit parade with one each. Nyetrae went 6-for-12 with two RBI, Nielsen was 5-for-11 and four RBI and Cervera, Day and Andrea Garza all had three hits. The Cougars went 3-1 in the tournament with wins over Modesto (7-2), Chabot (5-4) and Monterey (10-0) and a loss to Victor Valley (4-2). Carrigan was 2-0 and Wigley 1-1.

Cougars Win 3 of 4 in Softball Tournament
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
March 7, 2011

Softball3.7.11Taft College coupled good pitching with power hitting to win three of their four games in last weekend’s Fresno Bash softball tournament. The Cougars on Saturday defeated Modesto 7-2 and Chabot 5-4 and split Sunday’s games – beating Monterey Peninsula 10-0 before losing the finale to Victor Valley, 4-2. “We played very well both offensively and defensively,” said head coach Stefanie Walsh.  “We were doing well against Victor Valley until we had one inning where we broke down.” The Cougars showed some muscle on offense, too. “We hit a lot of homeruns, I’m not sure exactly how many,” she said Monday on her way to the first period health education class she teaches.  “I’ll have to break everything down.  It was a long weekend.”

Freshman third baseman Brittany Peterson hit at least four dingers, she said. “Kelcey (Viliamu) hit a couple and Courtney (Nyetrae), Allie (Carrigan), and Chanel (Nielsen) hit homers.  Everybody was hitting the ball very well.” Walsh said both her pitchers – sophomore Carrigan and freshman Kalea Wigley “pitched very well.” The Cougars (8-12 overall) get back to Central Valley Conference action today with a trip to Fresno for a doubleheader with the Rams.  On Thursday, they host Merced College at 2 p.m.  The Cougars lost a heartbreaker last Thursday in the conference opener – a 2-1 decision to Porterville. The Pirates scored the winning run in the seventh on a misjudged fly ball that landed for a double, a groundout that advanced the runner and a single. Carrigan took the loss, allowing seven hits, striking out six and walking two. Andrea Garza and Baylee Day both had two hits for the Cougars. TC’s lone run came in the fourth when catcher Nytrae rocked a 2-0 pitch over the right centerfield fence. The Cougars got the tying and winning runs in scoring position in the home half of the seventh but couldn’t score.  Every out in the inning was a popup to Pirate catcher Chelsey Papworth.

Late Rallies earn Cougars Softball Sweep Tuesday
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
February 24, 2011

Softball2.24.11Taft College surged back twice in late innings Tuesday to earn a doubleheader softball sweep over visiting Allan Hancock College. The Cougars trailed 9-2 in the first game before scoring five times in the sixth and three in the seventh to win the opener, 11-10. It was another five-run sixth that overcame a 3-2 Hancock lead and a 7-3 victory in the second game. The wins pushed Cougar record to 3-6 after starting the season 0-5. TC got its first win Sunday, beating Butte College 5-1 in Visalia before losing to Shasta 9-0 on Monday in Fresno. The Hancock sweep was important, head coach Stefanie Walsh said. “It was definitely a big day for us,” she said. “We found what we were missing: confidence in our ability and belief in the kind of team we are.” She was especially pleased with the way her team battled back. “We just kept plugging away. All of our hitters did a good job of putting the bat on the ball. When you keep putting the ball in play you know the hits will start to fall.” And they did.

Bulldog pitcher Britany Matlock shut out the Cougars over the first three innings and was leading 4-0 until sophomore catcher Courtney Nyetrae broke through with a two-run homer. Hancock scored five times in the top of the fifth on six hits, including a two-run homer from Caitlin Voss, to push the lead to 9-2. The Cougars got one back in the bottom of the fifth before erupting for five runs on just two hits in the sixth, taking advantage of a hit batter, two walks and an infield error. After Hancock scored in the top of the seventh to make it 10-8, a walk, infield error and a two-run double by Joya Cervera tied the game. Cervera then scored the game-winner on a passed ball.

In the nightcap, Hancock took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth when the Cougars put up another five on five hits capped, by Kelcey Vialiamu’s three-run homer. Cougar pitcher Allie Carrigan set the Bulldogs down on two grounders and an infield popup in the seventh. Cervera went 4-for-7 on the day with two doubles and two runs batted in, Nyetrae, Viliamu and Andrea Garza all had three hits and Iisha Cho two. Carrigan got the win in both games. In the opener she relieved starter Kaylea Wigley in the fifth. Carrigan gave up five earned runs in her 10 innings of work, struck out seven and walked five. Wigley gave up five earned runs, struck out one and walked two. “Both of our pitchers did well hitting their spots,” Walsh said. “Hancock hit some good pitches.” She also liked the way her team overcame miscues. “We were able to overcome the defensive mistakes that we made in the first game. This team is very softball smart.” In the win over Butte, every player in the lineup had a hit with Garza getting two. Brittany Peterson and Chanel Nielsen slugged homeruns and Nyetrae and Shelbe Pennel cracked doubles. The Cougars’ twin bill against San Joaquin Delta in Stockton yesterday was nixed because of the threat of rain and Sunday’s games against DeAnza and Monterey Peninsula in Cupertino are threatened as well. TC hosts Porterville next Thursday at 2 p.m. in the Central Valley Conference opener.

Cougar Bats Silenced in Softball Opener
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
January 31, 2011

Taft College sophomore center fielder Andrea Garza drilled a single into left field with one out in the bottom of the first inning of last Thursday’s season opener. After that, three Bakersfield College pitchers retired the next 22 batters in a row and took advantage of four Cougar errors for a 7-0 non-conference win. Julie Estep, Annissa Carendar and Jessica Simpson combined for 10 strikeouts, and did not walk a batter. The Renegades touched Cougar pitcher Allie Carrigan for seven hits, two each by Brittany Messer and Jazmin Irvin. Carrigan struck out four and did not walk a batter. Only three of the BC runs were earned. “We had a lot of first-game jitters,” said head coach Stefanie Walsh. “We’ve been working really hard the last few weeks. We didn’t have much of a fall (practice) season because we didn’t have the numbers. We had a few injuries and that put us back a little bit.” She hopes her team will get untracked today when the Cougars head to Salinas for a doubleheader with Hartnell College. Despite a lack of depth, she believes this year’s edition will be stronger than last year’s team that went 15-22-1.

Walsh has six returnees, including Carrigan, who finished 10-18 last season with a 2.44 earned run average. She also hit .347 with 22 runs batted in. She gets back her top hitter in Courtney Nyetrae, who hit .525 with 35 runs batted in – both tops in the conference. She had three homers, two triples and 22 doubles. Walsh lost here No. 2 hitter to a torn ACL during fall drills and had surgery in November. Amber Si’u hit .412 with 26 RBIs. “That was a big loss for us,” she said. Third baseman Kelcey Villiamu returns. She led the team with eight homers and was second in RBIs with 31. Another returnee is shortstop Joya Cervera, who hit .308 last season. Walsh will have to wait until basketball season is over to play her other sophomore – outfielder Baylee Day, who hit .345 last year and was a steady defender. “We are lucky to have sophomore leadership,” the coach said. “These sophomores are taking over and trying to make a difference.”

Walsh likes her crop of newcomers. “Our freshmen are really strong,” she said. They include pitcher/outfielder Kaylea Wigley (Bakersfield), utility Shelbe Pennel (Bakersfield), second baseman Chanel Nielsen (Midvale, Utah), catcher Iisha Cho (Kona, Hawaii), outfielder Christine Taylor (Kaysville, Utah), and infielder Brittany Peterson (Orem, Utah). Cho has had only a week of practice. Nyetrae, who played first base last season, has been handling the chores behind the plate. “Once we get Iisha some time working behind the plate we can move Courtney back to her normal position at first. She’s done a great job for us. She’ll be able to give Iisha a break during the season.” Peterson played first base in the opener, but was a shortstop in high school. She’s 6-1 and was the middle blocker on the Cougar volleyball team. “Brittany is very athletic,” Walsh said. “She has a very good bat. She is so versatile we’ll probably use her as a utility. That’s going to be very nice to have.” Like Day, Taylor won’t be in the lineup until basketball season is over on Feb. 19. “Christine will do some hitting and base-running. Her overall athletic ability will be a definite asset. Her work ethic is outstanding.”