GLENDALE — Debuting in the Southern California State Championships, the Foothill Major Softball All-Stars didn't quite put on the performance co-Coach Tyson Howard was hoping to see.
But the Glendale squad certainly gave him and fellow Coach Todd Fabian the result they desired.
Led by Alex Howard's two doubles and four runs batted in, Foothill defeated Section 9 titlist Coachella Valley, 6-2, on Thursday afternoon at Veterans Park in Colton.
"We actually had our worst game to date," Coach Howard said. "We just kinda were going through the motions.
"But we were able to get the win."
With the victory, the fourth in a row for Foothill (7-1), it advances in the winner's bracket to play host Colton, the Section 8 winner, at 7:45 p.m. today at Ken Hubbs Little League Park in Colton.
"Hopefully we got the bugs out, the jitters, and we can move on," Coach Howard said.
After three seasons of falling short in the Section 2 tournament, the core group of Foothill All-Stars, after winning the District 16 title and the Section 2 crown on Tuesday in Canyon Country, made its state debut, perhaps resulting in some nerves.
"I think it was [nerves], we've never been here before," said Alex Howard of her team's sluggish play. "It felt great play in state."
Howard drove in two runs apiece on third- and fourth-inning doubles.
"She had a really huge game," Tyson Howard said of Alex.
Diaz then followed with run-scoring singles in each stanza. Down 1-0 headed into the bottom of the third, Foothill scored three runs to take a 3-1 advantage and then bolstered its lead at 6-1 with another run-scoring trifecta in the fourth.
Howard and Fabian once more elected to go with the three-pitcher attack that had done so well for them in the Section tourney, with Jordan Lousararian starting the game and tossing two innings of one-run ball before Howard came on to throw two scoreless and earn the victory and Danielle Ryan closing out the game, allowing an unearned run over the final two stanzas. Despite the six-run output it was largely the offense that was troublesome for Foothill.
"We really should've scored 10 or 12 runs," Coach Howard said. "We played sluggishly, but we got the 6-2 win so we're happy with it, but it's not how we'd like to see them play."
Should Foothill win tonight's game it would earn a day off before playing in the tournament semifinal on Sunday at 7:45 p.m. Should it lose, however, it would play on Sunday at 5:45 p.m. and need to win out with games on Monday and Tuesday to earn a spot in Wednesday's final.