Top-seeded Foothill wasn't at its best in Thursday's playoff game against Los Alamitos. But sophomore pitcher Lauren Schwendimann was close to top form.
Schwendimann showed grit and dominance--she struck out six of the first seven batters--and teammate Jenny Beltran delivered a key two-run double to lift Foothill past host Los Alamitos, 3-1, in a Southern Section Division I quarterfinal.
The Knights (28-2-1) advanced to the semifinals to play Mater Dei, a 6-0 winner over Arcadia. Los Alamitos finished 22-5.
Foothill advanced although its high-powered offense, which scored 20 runs in its first two playoff victories, managed only four hits against Los Alamitos starter Mandy Rockwell.
Schwendimann (13-1) was equally tough, giving up three hits and two walks. She also struck out nine and allowed only two balls hit to the outfield.
She was toughest when she got into her only two jams.
After Foothill took a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth, Los Alamitos scored once in the bottom of the inning when Sara Kahler's one-out bloop single scored Kristin Farber.
But that's all Schwendimann gave up in the inning. She struck out Kristi Bissonnette and Angelina Herrera with runners on second and third.
"It was really a gritty performance for Schwendimann," Foothill Coach Joe Gonzalez said. "Even when our defense was collapsing all around her, she hung in there."
In the fifth, Los Alamitos threatened again, loading the bases with one out on a single and two Foothill fielding gaffes--including an error by shortstop Jaime Clark.
But Schwendimann got No. 2 hitter Brooke Donberg to ground to shortstop and Clark threw home for a force out. Then Los Alamitos' No. 3 hitter, Cyndi Tredway, grounded out weakly to Lindsay Fossatti at first to end the inning.
"We couldn't ask for anything better than that," Los Alamitos Coach Jami Shannon said. "We had the right people in the right situations, it just didn't happen today."
Beltran delivered Foothill's first clutch hit and the Knights got all the offense they needed on two pitches in the top of the fourth.
Although Rockwell (12-5) retired the first nine hitters she faced, Foothill put runners on first and second with two outs in the fourth.
Then Beltran lined a 1-0 pitch to the gap in left-center field to score Lauren Bauer and Clark for a 2-0 lead. On the next pitch, Cheri Nierman blooped a single to shallow center that Farber couldn't hang onto with a sliding effort, and Beltran scored for Foothill's third run.
In another Division I game:
Mater Dei 6, Arcadia 0--Tia Bollinger and Marissa Young combined on a no-hitter with six strikeouts and three walks for Mater Dei (28-5).
Courtney Ryan's RBI single in the third sparked a four-run inning for Mater Dei, which also included a two-run double by Monica Lucatero for the second and third runs, and a suicide squeeze by Ruby Rojas for the fourth.