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Foothill Major walks off into state final

Softball: Ryan belts walk-off double to lead Glendale squad to thrilling 7-6 nine-inning semifinal win.

July 18, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

GLENDALE — Staring directly at the possibility of heartbreaking defeat, the Foothill Major Softball All-Stars hardly played the part of a bunch of downtrodden Little Leaguers, according to co-Coach Tyson Howard.

"My girls, even though they're down [two runs] in the ninth, they are dancing and singing and just having the best time," Howard said.

And after the bottom of the ninth, there was even more reason for dancing and singing, as Foothill pulled off the latest in a line of dramatic victories, as it rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning late Sunday night to defeat Westchester Del Ray, 7-6, in the semifinals of the Southern California State Championships Tournament at Ken Hubbs Little League complex in Colton.

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"We were just trying to pump ourselves up and not get down," said Foothill's Danielle Ryan, the game's winning pitcher, who drove in the game-winning hit on a two-out double to score Jordan Lousararian.

The game featured a slew of lead changes, the final coming as Foothill fell behind, 6-4, in the top of the ninth inning before Lousararian, Julia Smith and Arianna Campbell scored to complete the comeback.

"It was the most amazing game I've ever been involved in," said Howard, whose team was on the heels of a 5-3 win over Colton. "It was incredible."

With the walk-off victory, Foothill (9-1) advanced to the state championships final on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. at the same site against an opponent to be determined.

"It's really exciting," said Ryan, who led her team to its sixth consecutive victory. "It's been a really great experience."

Ryan had three extra-base hits, drove in three runs and scored another to key the charge.

"Danielle was out of her mind," Howard said. "She took the whole team on her back."

Ryan got the District 16 and Section 2 champions off to the right start when she doubled in Sammy Fabian, who had walked, and Lousararian for a 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the third. Lousararian, who had two RBI and two runs, got the start in the circle and twirled three shutout innings.

Alex Howard was then brought on in relief in the fourth.

"Jordan was pitching great, but we were just trying to keep them off-balance," Tyson Howard said.

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