Taney gets its mojo back

Posted: August 08, 2014

BRISTOL, Conn. - The result might have been meaningless in the playoff bracket, but the win meant a whole lot to the Taney Youth Baseball Association.

With the semifinal matchup against Colonie (N.Y.) already set, Taney didn't need a win last night at Breen Field at the A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Leadership Training Center. But the Philly team did need to regain its mojo.

After suffering a 5-3 loss to Colonie on Tuesday night, the Pennsylvania state champs returned to form with a 7-1 victory over Northwest Washington (D.C.) in the Mid-Atlantic Regional on Wednesday. Now Taney hopes to carry that momentum into the rematch with Colonie in the semis.

"Technically the game was irrelevant - for seeding, it didn't even matter," said Taney manager Alex Rice. "But it was extremely important to me and the team to get some momentum going into the playoffs, sort of purge [Tuesday] night. And I really wanted them to get hitting."

The win did give Taney (3-1) the No. 2 seed in semifinals. Had Taney lost, it would have been the No. 3 seed and still played Colonie at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Taney's offense took advantage of shaky defense by Northwest Washington (0-4). The D.C. representatives committed five errors, including a bases-loaded errant throw in the second that led to two Taney runs.

Northwest cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the fourth on a Jack Greenburg RBI double off relief pitcher Carter Davis (3 1/3 innings, five strikeouts, two hits).

Taney still appeared to be in its offensive funk until second baseman Jahli Hendricks changed things with one swing of his bat. With two on and two outs in the bottom of the fourth, he sent a three-run blast over the centerfield fence to give Taney a 5-1 lead. It was especially sweet for Hendricks after he was robbed of a home run on Tuesday.

"It just felt good to give our team a spark in the final innings and we held on to win to get that No. 2 seed," Hendricks said.

His home run seemed to be the shot in the arm the entire team needed.

"It was huge. It was getting tense, I could feel people getting tight," said Rice. "There it was, 2-1, and [Hendricks' home run] gave us the breathing room to play our game."

Taney tacked on two more runs in the fifth, once again capitalizing on defensive miscues. Taney was strong defensively, committing just one error, only its third in four games at the Mid-Atlantic Regional.

"It felt great because [Tuesday] we weren't getting our momentum going forward, but tonight we were a little better," said Taney starting pitcher Erik Lipson. "But we still aren't running on all four cylinders."

Lipson was pulled after 35 pitches so he'd be available to pitch if needed over the weekend. Rice wouldn't say who his starter would be tomorrow but hinted Mo'ne Davis could get the nod. She had 10 strikeouts in Sunday's win over Newark (Del.) National.

The Taney-Colonie semifinal tomorrow will be followed by top-seeded Toms River, N.J., playing No. 4 Newark at 3 p.m.

The two winners will play in Sunday's 6 p.m. final, with a trip to the Little League World Series in Williamsport on the line.

But first, Taney has unfinished business with Colonie.

Said Davis: "We want payback."

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