The Issaquah Dragon 11-and-under baseball team ended another impressive regular season July 6, with another tournament championship and a 25-2 record.
The Dragons, who won all six of the tournaments they entered in four different states — Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona — claimed the Maltby All-Star Invitational by defeating the Mountlake Terrace Redbirds 4-2.
The Dragons knocked off the North Seattle Extreme twice on their way to the championship, but one of the more exciting games came during a 9-7 victory over the Bothell Pride in the first game of round robin play.
Issaquah exploded out of the gates for an early lead, taking a 6-1 lead. A two-run home run from Tanner Laine and RBI singles from Ty Gibson and Ian Christie in the first inning helped the Dragons to the advantage, which they held until the sixth inning. The Pride rallied for five runs in the top half of the inning, however, to knot the game up.
The game got even more interesting as the seventh inning approached. Tournament rules didn’t allow games to go over two hours, and the start of the seventh inning took place around the 1 hour, 50 minute mark. Issaquah answered the call in top half of the inning, scoring three quick runs. Two of those runs were generated off the bat of Christie, who hit a long home run. The bottom of the seventh started with roughly four minutes to go. Christie struck out the first batter on four pitches. The next two batters reached base on errors. That was followed by an RBI single and an ensuing call of “two minutes” from the umpire. A ground out moved the tying runs into scoring position with one minute to go. Christie ended the game, however, on a pick-off throw to Gibson at first for the third out.
The Dragons surpassed their tournament winning percentage from last year and claimed two 12-year-old championships and two World Series berths. The team qualified for the AAU West Coast Junior Olympics/NIT Western World Series in Reno, Nev., which it will not attend. It also qualified for the TPR Summer Championships/ BPA World Series in Manteca, Calif., July 17-20.