Center City Little Leaguers roll past team from D.C.

Taney's Mo'Ne Davis stretches to complete a double play against Northwest Washington (D.C.) in the final game of pool play of the Mid-Atlantic Regional in Bristol, Conn. A rematch with Colonie (N.Y.) is next.
Taney's Mo'Ne Davis stretches to complete a double play against Northwest Washington (D.C.) in the final game of pool play of the Mid-Atlantic Regional in Bristol, Conn. A rematch with Colonie (N.Y.) is next. (DAVID BUTLER II / For The Inquirer)
Posted: August 08, 2014

BRISTOL, Conn. - For all intents and purposes, the Taney Dragons' final game of pool play in the Little League Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament was nothing more than a tune-up for their spot in the semifinals.

But it was a successful tune-up, and the state champions from Center City were thrilled to get back on track in a 7-1 victory over Northwest Washington (D.C.) Wednesday night at Breen Field. Taney finished pool play with a 3-1 record and the second seed in the region.

Taney will play in a regional semifinal at 11 a.m. Friday against third-seeded Colonie (N.Y.). The teams met Tuesday night, when Colonie earned a 5-3 victory. In the other regional semifinal, top-seeded Toms River will play fourth-seeded Newark (Del.) National at 3 p.m. Friday.

Taney bounced back Wednesday from its lackluster game against Colonie. Jahli Hendricks provided fireworks with a three-run home run to center field in the fourth inning to extend Taney's lead to 5-1. On Tuesday night, Hendricks hit a ball that would have been a home run, but it was caught above the fence.

"It felt way better that he didn't rob me," Hendricks said with a laugh. "It just felt good to give my team a spark in the final innings."

The Washington team committed five errors in the game. Combined with Taney's seven hits, it was a recipe for offensive success, and the Center City team dug in.

Taney manager Alex Rice was conservative with starting pitcher Erik Lipson so he could preserve his availability for Friday's semifinal. Rice removed Lipson from the game after 22/3 scoreless innings when he reached the 35-pitch threshold. Lipson will need one day of rest, according to Little League pitching limits.

Although Taney probably would have earned the second seed in the region unless it was blown out Wednesday, the victory was a confidence booster.

"It was extremely important for me and the team to get some momentum going into the playoffs, kind of purge last night," Rice said Wednesday.

Now, the Dragons will get a chance to avenge their only loss. Rice will have his full arsenal of pitchers available Friday with the exception of Carter Davis, who relieved Lipson and finished the game. Rice did not name his starter for Friday but said he had "a good idea."

The team's female pitcher, Mo'ne Davis, will be available. "We want payback," she said.


mcohen@phillynews.com

@MaxACohen

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