According to head coach Vickie Dugan, the Porterville College softball team did not do itself justice against Taft on Tuesday.
Porterville lost 15-11 at home in a game that Dugan said the Pirates failed to put forth their best effort.
"They didn't compete at all," Dugan said with a frown. "There was no sense of urgency at the plate. They weren't smart with the bat."
That led to Dugan's command in the sixth inning to take pitches until there was a called first strike. She said the team had wasted too many at-bats by swinging too early.
The injury left Porterville shorthanded at the pitching position during the Ventura Tournament this past weekend. The Pirates lost three of four games, as Knauer and freshman Hannah Grimes started all four. At the moment, Dugan said Knauer is pitching more because she has more movement on the ball.
The Cougars jumped out to an early lead scoring three in the first and two in the second. Of those five runs, three were scored with two outs. It was one of the points hit upon during Dugan's postgame speech to the team.
The trend continued, as Taft's six runs in the fourth through sixth innings all came with two outs.
The Pirates scored all but one of their runs in the second and sixth.
Sophomore and former Monache Marauder Briana Bamber plated the first Porterville run with a two-out single. Then, with the bases loaded, sophomore Danielle Jimenez, a Porterville High School graduate, smacked a two-run single to cut the lead to 5-3. Sophomore Isabel Romero, who attended Porterville, reached first base after a Taft outfielder dropped the ball, giving the Pirates their fourth run.
In the sixth, catcher and former Porterville Panther Kim Hulse belted a two-run double to left to pull Porterville within 14-7. Knauer and Destiny Garcia, a former Lindsay Cardinal, then walked with the bases loaded to make the score 14-9. Grimes finished the inning by recording an RBI single to cut the lead to 14-10.
Porterville loaded the bases in the seventh, but besides sophomore Shaeleigh Knell walking a run home, the Pirates could not capitalize. They were also hurt by a controversial double-play call.
"We just plain did not play well today," Dugan said. "They're a better group than they showed, but they disappointed the coaching staff today."
Porterville fell to 9-15 overall and 3-7 in the Central Valley Conference. The Panthers play a doubleheader at Fresno City Thursday at 1 p.m.