Brookelyn Gutierrez

Porterville High School shortstop, Brookelyn Gutierrez, checks on a runner during a softball game against Taft High School, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, at Porterville High.

PHS falls 14-3 to Taft, host BCHS Thursday

Porterville High School softball lost 14-3 to Taft in a non-league game Tuesday at home.

The Panthers (0-2) struck first in the bottom of the second with Greenly Wilson scoring on an RBI from Cienna Enriquez for the game’s first run of the day. But it was nearly all Taft (2-1) after that thanks to costly errors.

In the top of the third, the Panthers were leading 1-0 with two outs but proceeded to give up eight runs on four hits and three errors. Two of the hits were a double and a 3-run home run.

“It all started on that two outs too,” PHS head coach Jennifer Schoonover said. “We had good memento going, we were doing good and it was -- our errors seemed to be catching up to us and unfortunately they’re contagious.”

Porterville answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning to make it a five-run game. The first was a result of an RBI-single from Savannah Murrietta to bring in Jennilu Martinez, while the second came from Sierra Mendoza’s RBI-single sending Enriquez home to score. Enriquez led the team at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a run scored.

Taft put the game out of reach for Porterville in the top of the fifth when they scored six more runs. This time, the Panthers didn’t have an answer and the game finished in five innings. 

On the mound for Porterville were freshmen, Priscilla Gomez and Trinity Avila. Gomez got the start and Avila pitched in relief. The two recorded four total strikeouts.

“I love our two pitchers that we have,” Schoonover said. “They’re both hard workers. It’s tough because they don’t have that varsity experience. Both of them have the travel experience but they don’t have the experience of (pitching) against 18-year-olds. And then they’re both coming when we didn’t have a full season.”

Like many teams across the state, Porterville was limited in what they could do in the offseason, have a short preseason schedule with no tournaments and don’t return several girls for personal reasons regarding COVID.

The team starts it’s East Yosemite League schedule on April 20, but opens with Bakersfield Christian on Thursday. The Eagles are taking the place of Delano in EYL this season. 

“It’s interesting because we know nothing about Bakersfield Christian,” Schoonover said. “We don’t ever go down to Bakersfield to play teams, and without having any tournaments this season, we don’t really know anything about them. It’ll be interesting how we match up.”

Coming off two losses and heading into league play, Schoonover is making a point to not let the team overthink their current record, and instead, reminding them that she believes in them.

“I’m confident in my girls and I tell them that,” she said. “I say, ‘I’m confident in you.’ I tell them not to hang their heads and it’s just the beginning of the season and we’re all newbies, and we’re all getting to know each other; so we’ll get there. I have no doubt we will.”

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