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MI-Bellevue 'Thin Mints' reach regional semis

Mercer Island softball all-star Claire McCarthy catches a pitch during the Little League Softball Western Regional Tournament in Vancouver - Photo courtesy Pat Yamaura
Mercer Island softball all-star Claire McCarthy catches a pitch during the Little League Softball Western Regional Tournament in Vancouver
— image credit: Photo courtesy Pat Yamaura

The Mercer Island-Bellevue Softball All-Stars finished 4-0 in the group phase to qualify for the semi-finals of the Little League Softball Western Regional in Vancouver, Washington.

Led by Islander coach Pat McCarthy, the team beat Lewiston, Idaho 4-3 in extra innings to set up their semi-final game on Saturday, Aug. 8 against Northern California representatives Gilroy.

The "Thin-Mints" previously defeated San Tan Little League of Mesa, Ariz. 1-0 on Thursday, Aug. 6 to qualify for a play-off berth following wins against Southern California representative Burbank (6-4) and Montana representatives Billings (12-5).

Playing against Burbank last Tuesday, Aug. 4, the game went back and forth with Burbank scoring twice in the top of the third, only to have Mercer Island-Bellevue answer with three runs in its half of the inning.

Burbank again went on top with a two-run fifth, and the 'Thin Mints' responded with the go-ahead run in the bottom of the inning. Kathryn Wood had four strikeouts for Mercer Island-Bellevue.

The game versus Arizona turned into a pitching duel with the lone run coming in the first inning as winning pitcher Kaitlin Sahlinger scored from third after drawing an errant throw from Arizona's catcher. A bases-loaded, no-out comeback by the Arizona team in the top of the 6th inning was squelched by excellent fielding and defense to win the game.

The win over Arizona places Mercer Island-Bellevue first their pool and guarantees a play-off in the regional semi-final on Saturday, Aug. 8 at 2 p.m. Depending on the result, the team would play the following day, Aug. 9, in either the championship or consolation game. The championship winner advances to the Little League Softball World Series on Aug. 13-19, held in Portland, Oregon.

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