GLENDALE — Having already overcome a deficit of equal size in its last at bats against Quartz Hill in the opening round of the Section 2 Major Softball Tournament on Thursday, the Foothill All-Stars stayed confident when they found themselves once again down by three runs near the end of Saturday's winner's bracket game against Mission Hills.
And, even though Foothill's rally came up a run short this time, in a 3-2 loss at the Canyon Country Little League facility, Coach Tyson Howard remains confident of the team's ability to play its way back to the championship game.
"It was too little, too late," Howard said of the comeback attempt that began with two runs in the fifth inning, but was snuffed out when Alex Howard's deep fly ball with two runners aboard in the sixth was caught at the warning track. "I thought we were the better team, but they played better today.
"I think we can still do it. I still think we are the best team here."
Foothill will begin to try to prove that when it plays either Quartz Hill or San Marino in a loser's bracket elimination game at 9 a.m. today in Canyon Country.
Foothill pitchers Jordan Lousararian, Alex Howard and Danielle Ryan each tossed two strong innings, with only one of Mission Hills' three runs being earned. A run-scoring single off Lousararian in the top of the first inning gave Mission Hills the lead and it added two more runs in the fourth on a double, a run-scoring error and run-scoring passed ball with two outs.
"The errors were the thing that bit us," Coach Howard said.
Along the way, Foothill failed to make the most of its own opportunities, leaving the bases loaded in the first two innings.
"That was tough," Coach Howard said.
But Foothill got back in the game in a hurry in the fifth. Sammy Fabian, who went three for four at the plate, and Howard each singled and moved up on a double steal to put a pair of runners in scoring position for Miranda Diaz, who rapped a two-run single to pull Foothill to within one run.
Ryan retired Mission Hills in order in the top of the sixth, but Foothill also made two quick outs in the bottom half before Fabian extended the game with a single. Lousararian (one for three) drew a walk before Howard gave one a ride that just didn't travel far enough.
Still, the team's late rally, and its good pitching throughout the contest, gave Coach Howard cause for hope.
"We have all our pitchers [available] for [today]," Howard said, "which is good."