Taft Midway Driller
by Dennis McCall
Taft College baseball passed the midway point in its pre-conference tune-up by splitting a pair of weekend home games.
The Cougars (2-2) rolled over College of the Siskiyous 17-6 but were frustrated in a 4-3 loss to Cerro Coso of Ridgecrest when they stranded nine runners over the last four innings.
TC feasted on Siskiyous pitching, hammering 21 hits with freshman third baseman Kaivon Kealoha leading the way with five hits in six at-bats and driving in four runs. He had two doubles and three singles.
Leftfielder Ricky Sottile went 3-for-5 with a solo homer and a double for three RBIs.
Ten different Cougars recorded base hits with Fabian Gutierrez, Richard Ortiz, Shane Kotz, Robert Higgs, and Austin Pendergrass all getting two. Ortiz, Kotz, Travis Turner and Kyle Wedel all hit doubles.
TC gave up three runs in the top of the first but tied it with one in the second and two in the third.
After that the Cougars scored four times each in the fourth and fifth and three times each in the seventh and eighth.
Sophomore southpaw Robby Brewster got his second win, working five innings. He gave up three hits and no earned runs, struck out three and walked one. Five other pitchers also saw action.
Cerro Coso 4, Cougars 3
There were plenty of hits (Cerro Coso 11, Taft 10) but not a lot of scoring.
Both teams left a lot of runs on the base baths – Cerro Coso 13 and Taft 11. What hurt the Cougars most was leaving the bases loaded in the sixth and seventh and two on in the ninth.
Gutierrez was the only Cougar with two hits – both singles. Dayton Wilson smacked a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth for the game's final run. Ortiz had a double.
Pendergrass, a Taft High product, had a single and stolen base.
Will Moore, another former Wildcat, pitched the third and fourth innings and was tagged for the loss. He gave up three hits with a walk and strikeout.
The Cougars play twice in Monterey Thursday and Saturday against Monterey Peninsula College (2-3). Both Lobo wins were against Central Valley Conference foe West Hills-Coalinga.
The Cougars have four more non-conference games, all on the road: two at Monterey and single games Feb. 16 at West L.A. and Feb. 20 at Victor Valley before opening CVC play at Merced okn Feb. 25.