Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons baseball team has given Philly sports fans something to cheer about after winning their second game at the Little League World Series in Williamsport Sunday night 7-6.
It was clutch time when the team entered the bottom of the sixth inning and were trailing 6-5. The Dragons went on to score two runs and pull off the dramatic comeback win and beat Pearland East of Pearland, Texas, who was the southwest champion. The team now just sits two wins away from the championship game.
The Dragons are a deep team as they get contributions from every player. Taney’s assistant coach Alex Bandura alluded to this in a post game interview. “It comes from a different place every day, we’re a solid team. Anybody can come through at any time”. This was the case Monday night as Zion Spearman and Tai Shanahan both had clutch RBIs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Taney’s number two pitcher, Jared Sprauge-Lott served up a strong performance, going 4 2/3 innings allowing three earned runs. Big right hander Joe Richardson relieved Sprauge-Lott of his duties in the fifth inning and allowed a run. Erik Lipson took over in the sixth and kept the score in tact.
An outstanding number- 32,148 to be exact- of fans packed Lamade Stadium Monday night. To say the Dragons had a home field advantage would be an understatement, as an overwhelming amount of the fans in attendance were supporting the Dragons. Fans from Philadelphia arrived for the game by the bus-full, and blue T-shirts took over Lamade Stadium. They celebrated every strikeout, cheered loudly for every batter and were on their feet for every run. The gift shop sold out of the blue T-shirts and has had to order more.
Pitching Phenom Mo’ne Davis recorded two hits Monday night including an RBI double after going hitless in Friday’s game. Davis has caught the nations attention and rightfully so after she became the first girl to pitch a complete game shutout in the 67-year history of the LLWS. Davis will be back on the hill Wednesday when she and the Dragons take on a talented team from Las Vegas and easily their toughest opponent yet.
Davis’s coach is confident his pitcher will be able to silence the Las Vegas bats. Taney’s manger, Alex Rice, had this to say about his ace pitcher. “There’s nobody else I would rather go up against them with than Mo’ne. She has pitched against teams from California before and we’ve done well, we’ve won”. Like the players, coach Rice does not seem intimated by the talented Las Vegas team.
Little League World Series teams from the West region have always been notoriously talented. They are known for playing the sport year round, pitching tough, and being fundamentally sound in all aspects of the game. The Las Vegas squad representing the region is no different this year.
The Dragons however, are not intimidated. After Sunday’s come-from-behind, walk-off victory, the team is confident that they can play with anyone as Taney catcher Scott Bandura said “there’s nobody that can stop us, we hit good pitching. I think Mo’ne Davis is going to crack their bats if she has her best game.”
It would be great to see the Dragons come out victorious Wednesday night, but win or lose they should keep their heads high. They are the first team ever to make it to Williamsport from Philadelphia. The team is the typical Philadelphia sports team: they have flown under the radar for the majority of their season and although they might not be the most talented team the always seem to find a way to win.