Issaquah Little League showed it had the best team in the Washington State 8-10 Little League Baseball tournament throughout the entire 1 1/2-week run and it proved it on Tuesday night at Failor Field.
In the state championship game, Issaquah outlasted Mill Creek with eight unanswered runs in the final two innings to claim the state title, 11-4.
Issaquah is the third District 9 state 8-10 champion over the last five years and the seventh overall since 2007. For this age group, there are no more postseason tournaments inside the Little League system.
Trailing 4-3 after four innings, Issaquah was six outs away from being forced into a winner-take-all title game. Issaquah knocked off Mill Creek, 4-2, on Saturday and had to lose twice to Mill Creek to lose the state title.
Issaquah sent 12 batters to the plate, starting with two batters hit by a pitch and a walk to load the bases with no outs, in the fifth. With the Mill Creek infield drawn in, Will Hawk hit a two-run double over second baseman Jackson Rabe’s outstretched glove for a 5-4 lead.
A one-out walk reloaded the bases and Cody Thumlert came off the bench to get an RBI walk for a 6-4 score. Mill Creek changed pitchers, then Hudson Caravalho hit an RBI bloop single to keep the bases loaded. A wild pitch and another RBI walk made it 9-4 before Mill Creek got out of the inning.
With the damage done, Mill Creek went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fifth. Issaquah got two more insurance runs on a two-out, two-run double by Ryan Boehm. A great exchange from left fielder Ryan Whitley to third baseman Landon Thompson to catcher Caden Tashiro cut down an Issaquah runner for the final out at the plate.
Issaquah relief pitcher Mason Uchimura got a ground out for the final out, igniting a jumping, joyous celebration at first base. During the trophy presentation, the team members all went for the pennant, while the Issaquah coaches held onto the first-place trophy and watched their players run around the outfield.
Mill Creek got the scoring started by plating two runs in the bottom of the first off two infield errors. Issaquah got on the board in the top of the third with three runs — a two-run single by Jack Babuin and an RBI double by Uchimura — with two outs.
Mill Creek grabbed the lead back in the bottom of the third with two-out efforts as well — a bases-loaded RBI walk by Zack Byrd and an RBI single off the pitcher by Ethan Reynolds — for a 4-3 lead.