NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Paced by shut-down pitching and powered by efficient hitting, the Foothill Giuseppe's Major Softball team advanced to the finals of the Tri-Cities District 16 Tournament of Champions with a resounding 15-1 victory over the Jewel City Kutters on Wednesday afternoon at Scholl Canyon Ball Fields.
Foothill wasted no time in proving worthy of its No. 1 seeding. Starting pitcher Alex Howard struck out the side in the first and second innings then watched her offense put up nine runs in the bottom halves.
"Alex was on fire, and she gave us a nice little start," said Foothill Coach Todd Fabian, who pulled his starter after two innings while holding a comfortable lead. "Our hitting was fantastic. I'm happy with the way we played."
Foothill scored five runs in the first inning off Kutters starting pitcher Vanessa Ocon, who received little support from her defense to the tune of three unearned runs for Foothill.
The Foothill bats really came alive the rest of the contest. Howard connected on a two-run home run with one on and one out in the second inning, increasing Foothill's lead to 7-0.
Foothill tacked on two more runs in the inning. Jordan Lousararian's single plated Danielle Ryan, who was on second with a stolen base. Sophie Georges picked up Lousararian, who also stole second.
Miranda Diaz continued pitching well for Foothill in the third inning, striking out the side, but she also walked three batters and pitched her way out of a bases loaded jam.
"Miranda got into some trouble, but she worked her way out of it," Fabian said. "All three of our pitchers pitched great."
Meanwhile, the Foothill offense didn't let up, scoring six runs in the third on six hits. Sammy Fabian tripled in No. 9 hitter Arianna Campbell. Ryan completed a three-hit day with her third single, scoring Diaz for her second run batted in.
The team batted around the lineup in the sixth, allowing Campbell her second single of the inning — this one bringing home the team's 15th and final run.
Lousararian closed it out from the circle, striking out two batters, but allowing the first hit and run of the game to the Kutters. Ocon doubled to lead off the inning, then stole third on a strikeout pitch. Madeline Alfonso grounded out to first, which allowed Ocon to put the Kutters on the scoreboard.
"We started making plays later, and started off slow," said Kutters Coach Andrew Alfonso, who will coach his team at 6:30 p.m. Friday in a loser's-bracket game against the Tujunga Warriors at Scholl. "Vanessa and Madeline had good hits in that final inning and good games overall."
Foothill will play one of two Crescenta Valley teams, either the Red Hots or Sanfillippo, in the next round at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Scholl.
Sammy Fabian, Ryan, Lousararian, and Campbell each had multi-hit games to complement the team's pitching, which allowed just one hit while walking five.