PLEASANTON -- Making its return to the North Coast Section playoffs after a four-year hiatus, the Foothill High softball team was victorious in a game full of twists and turns.
Jenna Crawford scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error in the bottom of the sixth inning as the No. 5 seeded Falcons topped Dougherty Valley 8-7 on Wednesday in a Division I opening round game.
Foothill (15-10) needed the late run despite a fifth inning grand slam from Kennedi DeRossett that put the Falcons up 7-3.
"In playoff sports every team is going to fight and claw you," Foothill coach Matt Sweeney said. "When we went up 7-3 I thought it was 'put a fork in it.' But we left the door open."
Dougherty Valley (12-10) responded with four runs in the top of the sixth. Kate Scheid tied the game with a two-run double after an RBI single from Allie Puatu and an error also scored runs.
Foothill (15-10) had an answer, though.
Crawford led off the bottom of the sixth with an infield single and was sacrificed to second. After a strikeout, she stole third and scored when the throw to the bag sailed into the outfield.
Jasaiah Gholston pitched a perfect seventh inning to seal the win and earn a quarterfinal matchup with No. 4 Heritage, which beat Berkeley 11-1 in its opener.
Dougherty Valley led 1-0 in the third and 3-2 in the fifth after Foothill committed three errors in a single inning.
Foothill then put together a five-run fifth, which included a two-out RBI single by Megan Shackley to tie the game and was capped by DeRossett's homer. It was her fourth home run of the year and second grand slam.
"That was pretty awesome," DeRossett said. "Whenever I don't think about hitting anything, it happens. I just go with it."
Just making the postseason was an accomplishment for Foothill, which went 5-19 last year and had posted three straight seasons of single-digit wins.
"A year ago we wouldn't have fought back and won that game," Sweeney said. "We would have folded up our tents and ended up losing. The fact that we fought and clawed was huge."
NCS playoffs Division I Foothill 8, Dougherty Valley 7
Dougherty Vly. 001 024 0-- 7 6 3
Foothill 001 151 x-- 8 7 5
Lee and Puatu. Scates, Gholston (4) and Lacy. W: Gholston. L: Lee. 2B: Lee (DV), Scheid (DV), Miller (DV). HR: DeRossett (F) 5th inn., 3 on. Records: Dougherty Valley 12-10, Foothill 15-10. Highlights: DV -- Scheid 1 for 3, 3 RBI; Puatu 1 for 4, 2 R, RBI. F -- DeRossett 1 for 2, 4 RBI, R; Lacy 2 for 4, 2 R, SB; Crawford 1 for 3, 2 R, 2 SB.