PLEASANTON -- Amador Valley High senior Johanna Grauer had four hits and fired a four-hitter in a 7-1 win over East Bay Athletic League rival Foothill on Wednesday in the North Coast Section Division I softball semifinals.
The top-seeded Dons (26-0), who had 12 hits, are one win away from securing the program's second section title since 2011. Amador Valley will face No. 3 Granada in the championship game on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Saint Mary's College in Moraga.
Grauer, who was 4 for 4 with a double and two RBIs, said the Dons have been hitting well all year, an improvement over the previous two seasons.
"For most of us it's our senior year, and we're just trying to do whatever we can to get to the championship game and win it all," Grauer said. "Our hitting has really stepped up this year and it's doing us well."
The No. 5 seeded Falcons (16-11) gave the Dons a battle, trailing just 1-0 through four innings before Amador Valley got three in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh.
"We competed hard. They just put a lot of pressure on you throughout their whole lineup," Falcons coach Matt Sweeney said. "Obviously, the pitcher is not going to give a lot of chances. It's just hard to match them."
Sweeney takes pride in his players' improvement over the past three years.
"This team won five games last year and won five games the year before with all the same girls," Sweeney said. "Second place in the EBAL, semifinals in NCS, and competed hard with everybody."
The Dons led 1-0 in the first inning when Nicole Yozzo, who had three hits and an RBI, reached on a bunt single and scored on Grauer's hit.
Foothill center fielder Alana Mendez, who had made two fine defensive plays, caught a ball near the fence to rob Victoria Molina of an RBI in the third. But the Dons kept the pressure on, and finally broke through against Foothill starter Jasaiah Gholston in the fifth.
Jazzy Perez and Yozzo started the rally with singles, and Grauer had an RBI single before the Falcons walked slugger Ashley Lotoszynski intentionally for the second straight time. Molina made them pay with a two-run single. The Falcons pitched to Lotoszynski in the seventh, and she hammered an RBI double.
In the sixth, Amador's Courtney Hennings doubled and scored on Yozzo's infield hit.