"It was an added element of stress for us," Foothill co-Coach Todd Fabian said. "They were a little shaken up. We didn't get off to our usual start."
But, while Foothill had plenty to deal with on and off the diamond, Mission Hills' early struggles led to local fortune, as the Foothill All-Stars used two first-inning unearned runs to propel them to a 6-2 win on Monday in the championship game of the Section 2 Major Softball Tournament. The victory forced a winner-take-all final today at 5 p.m. at the same venue.
"I think we fought through [the adversity] well, forgot everything and played our hardest," said Danielle Ryan, who went two for three with an RBI triple, the latter coming in a four-run second that blew the game open.
Ryan also makes up a third of Foothill's pitching attack, along with Jordan Lousararian and Alex Howard, which allowed four hits, four walks and struck out six Mission Hills batters on Monday, as they each pitched two innings. It was the same Mission Hills team that defeated Foothill, 3-2, on Saturday, forcing the District 16 champions into an elimination rematch with rival Quartz Hill on Sunday. Foothill, buoyed by a combined shutout from Howard, Lousararian and Ryan, beat Quartz Hill, 2-0, for a second time in the tournament to lead to Monday's contest.
"They don't get tired, they're fresh," said Coach Fabian of using the three-pitcher rotation, which also allows them to use each hurler on consecutive days when held to two innings. "We've been doing it all season."
In the top of the first, Lousararian stranded a Mission Hills runner in what we become a foreshadowing of things to come.