After a convincing victory over the two-time defending Division I champions, the Granada High softball team is back in the North Coast Section final for the first time since 2007.
The Matadors beat James Logan 11-1 in Tuesday's semifinals, spraying hits all over the field and taking advantage of three costly defensive miscues in a game that lasted just five innings due to the 10-run rule.
Kayla Fitzgerald and Taylor Zehr each had three hits, and pitcher Jessica Johnston shut down Logan's potent offense in the road win.
"Going to the finals is just completely unreal," said Fitzgerald, who went 3 for 3 and had a two-run double in the third inning that put Granada up 4-0. "We've wanted this every year."
The No. 3 seeded Matadors (19-7) will play the winner of a Wednesday semifinal between Pleasanton rivals Amador Valley and Foothill in the championship game.
By pounding out 13 hits and getting RBIs from six players, Granada eliminated a Logan team that had reached the past four NCS Division title games, winning three of them.
But the Colts (23-3) couldn't cool the hot-hitting Matadors, who refocused heading into the playoffs after a rough patch at the end of the regular season.
"We've picked it up each and every game (since the start of the postseason) and are playing probably our best ball right now," Granada coach Johnny Heinz said.
Granada took a 1-0 lead on a throwing error in the second inning and scored multiple runs in each of the next three innings. Tabitha Heinz's two-run single in the fifth inning capped a five-run outburst and helped end the game early.
Johnston worked out of a two-on, no out jam in the bottom of the fifth, and the Matadors, who didn't qualify for the NCS playoffs the past five years, began celebrating.
Salesian 5, Moreau Catholic 0: The host Pride (17-1) defeated the Mariners (14-6) to advance to its third consecutive NCS Division IV title game. Zoe Conley had 16 strikeouts for Salesian, the defending section champions, and teammate Meghan Bradbury went 3 for 3 with two doubles and a solo home run. The Pride will face the winner of Wednesday's game between Marin Catholic and St. Patrick-St. Vincent in the championship either Friday or Saturday, at a location to be determined.
Deer Valley d. Lowell-San Francisco: Bezhan Wahidi had 13 kills and 10 service points for the host Wolverines (40-2), who earned a 25-9, 25-16, 25-15 win over the No. 7 Cardinals (24-5) in the first round of the NorCal Division I playoffs. Second-seeded Deer Valley will host No. 3 St. Francis-Mountain View on Thursday in the NorCal semifinals.
In another Division I quarterfinal, fourth-seeded Foothill lost at No. 5 Del Oro-Loomis 18-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-20. In the Division II quarterfinals, host and No. 1 seed Campolindo beat No. 8 St. Patrick-St. Vincent 25-8, 25-11, 25-9, and host and sixth-seeded Drake beat No. 3 Northgate 25-23, 16-25, 28-26, 25-19.
Matt Zahner has resigned as Monte Vista's boys soccer coach after nine seasons, and Chris Faidley has stepped away from the California boys team after seven seasons. Zahner, who won EBAL and NCS Division I titles in 2006 and 2007, had an overall record of 128-53-42 with the Mustangs. Zahner will be teaching full time at Athenian Middle School and coaching the boys soccer team in the fall and the girls in the spring. Jeff Kendall, a former assistant at Monte Vista, will take over the Mustangs.
Faidley, who is being replaced by Tyler Rosecrans, the Grizzlies' junior varsity coach the past two years, was 92-43-32 at California. The Grizzlies won the EBAL title in 2011 and reached the NCS final in 2010.
-- Matt Smith, correspondent