SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Issaquah’s success in the Northwest Region Little League Softball tournament can be summed up as follows: They make the plays.

Issaquah scored four runs in the first inning, and Shaelyn Erickson allowed only one hit in a 5-0 victory Wednesday over Hermiston, Oregon.

Issaquah will play in Friday’s championship game between the winner of Thursday’s game between Oregon and Montana.  

If Issaquah wins, it would represent the region at the Little League Softball World Series, which will be played in Greenville, North Carolina, starting Aug. 9.

The one hit Erickson allowed resulted in an out as Issaquah made a SportsCenter-worthy play at third base. Oregon’s Kylie Virggil hit a ball well over left fielder Hadley Paget’s head. A ball hit that distance frequently goes for a home run, but Paget raced back, threw a strike to shortstop Hadlie Delucchi, who relayed the ball to Giorgia Graham at third and Graham made the tag.

“When the ball was hit, all I could think was run, run, run,” Paget said. “One time a coach hit it way over my head in practice and I thought, ‘You can’t be serious.’ “


Delucchi, who bats third, went back and made sure to line up between Paget and third base. Like the first throw, the second throw was also perfect. If it looked like it was a play they practiced, well, that was because they did. 

“We always practice situations and have for the past two months,” Issaquah coach Edwin Ericksen said.

Oregon’s starting pitcher, Lillian Rood, pitched well and allowed only one run after the first inning while striking out five. Delucchi made an impressive play in the bottom of the fifth, scoring from first base on London White’s single.

“This game is no different than any other game we have played,” Erickson said. “I think we have scored in the first inning in most of our games. We talk about trying to get ahead early.”

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that Issaquah would not be the first team from Washington to represent the region at the Little League Softball World Series. Kirkland played in the 2018 event.