Foothill (6-1) broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third, as Julia Smith tallied her team's first hit with a one-out single, Sammy Fabian walked with two outs and Jordan Lousararian reached on an error to load the bases for Howard, who delivered a huge two-run single to center.
"It feels great to be on the other side," said Howard of finally winning after being part of a core group of players to have lost in three consecutive Section 2 tournaments beginning at the 9-10 level.
After coming up just short three consecutive years, Foothill prevailed with just three hits to go along with three pitchers. Howard got the win after tossing two scoreless innings and pitching out of a bit of trouble in the third after giving up a single and surviving two walks in the fourth.
Lousararian began the game with two scoreless innings of one-hit ball, while Danielle Ryan closed out the game, earning the save and surviving an unearned run in the top of the fifth to close out the victory.
"It just feels good," said Foothill co-Coach Tyson Howard. "Just to not be nervous anymore feels good."
The nerves will likely start up a bit more on Thursday, as the District 16 and, now, Section 2 champions open up play at 5:45 p.m. against the Section 9 champion in the SoCal State Championships in Colton at the Colton Veterans Park.
Before making it to a postgame celebration behind first base on Tuesday, though, Foothill had to contend with a Mission Hills squad that defeated it in the teams' first meeting of the tournament on Saturday.