Nevada defeated star pitcher Mo'ne Davis and the Taney Dragons 8-1 in the Little League World Series on Wednesday night.
Nevada defeated star pitcher Mo'ne Davis and Pennsylvania's Taney Dragons 8-1 in the Little League World Series on Wednesday night.
Nevada advances to the U.S. final on Saturday and will face the winner of Thursday's elimination game between Illinois and Pennsylvania. The U.S. champion will face the international champion in the Little League World Series final at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
The 13-year-old Davis started on the mound Wednesday and struck out six in 2 1/3 innings. She allowed one run in the first inning and a two-run homer in the second. She left after throwing 55 pitches and will be eligible to pitch Saturday if Taney advances.
All eyes were on Davis heading into Wednesday's game. She rose to fame after Taney's Little League World Series opener. In that game, a 4-0 win over Tennessee, Davis became the first girl to pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series.
As Albert Chen wrote in this week's Sports Illustrated, her success wasn't new to those around her:
The legend of Mo'ne began to grow in local neighborhoods as she dominated boys in just every sport she played. She is the center midfielder on the Monarchs' boys soccer team, though her first love is basketball. Her dream, as she's already proclaimed to the world, is to run Geno Auriemma’s offense at UConn. To hear others tell it, she could run the 76ers' offense.
But it had reached a national scale by Wednesday. Davis is featured on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated. The Phillies showed their support before Wednesday's game. According to the ESPN broadcast, 375 press credentials were issued for the game. (The 34,128 people in attendance at the Little League game were more than attended Wednesday night's Phillies game.)
The game featured the last two unbeaten teams in the United States bracket. Mountain Ridge Little League from Las Vegas won its first two games by a combined 21 runs and struck early against Davis. By the time she left in the third inning, Nevada held a 3-0 lead.
Defense, including a warning-track catch by the rightfielder in the first inning, helped Nevada slow Taney.
Dallan Cave and Brennan Holligan each hit two-run homers for Nevada. Relief pitcher Austin Kryszczuk also escaped two jams to preserve the lead in what was a close game until the final inning.
- Marc Weinreich
The Associated Press contributed to this report