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Foothill finally takes Section 2 championship

Softball: Four-year journey that began at 9-10 level ends with trip to SoCal tourney for Majors.

July 13, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

CANYON COUNTRY — On a sunny, windy afternoon in Canyon Country, four summers of chasing Section 2 glory finally came to fruition for the Foothill All-Stars and concluded with celebration after first baseman Miranda Diaz clutched the final out.

Keyed by a clutch two-run single from Alex Howard, the Foothill Major Softball All-Stars defeated Mission Hills, 3-1, on Tuesday afternoon at the Canyon Country Little League complex, bringing home the team's first Section 2 title and advancing to the Southern California State Championships.

"This is very exciting because we've spent four years trying to get here and we finally won," said Diaz, who recorded all three putouts in the final inning to conclude a phenomenal fielding day for herself and the team overall.

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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.

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