Mo'ne Davis, Taney shut out Nashville, 4-0

Mo'ne Davis celebrates her shutout of Nashville. Davis allowed only two hits and struck out eight in the six-inning game in South Williamsport.                 DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer
Mo'ne Davis celebrates her shutout of Nashville. Davis allowed only two hits and struck out eight in the six-inning game in South Williamsport.                 DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer
Posted: August 17, 2014

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Mo'ne Davis reached into the back pocket of her baseball pants after the game and emptied what was inside.

A $5 bill. A pair of ones. A nickel. Pitching with a little money, Davis said, is time-tested good luck. She did it once when she was little, pitched well, and has done it ever since. It worked again Friday afternoon at the Little League World Series at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.

The 13-year-old from South Philadelphia allowed two hits, struck out eight, and walked none in a six-inning shutout, sending Taney to a 4-0 victory over Nashville (Tenn.) in the first round.

Taney is the first Philadelphia team to reach Williamsport. Davis is the first girl in the tournament's 75-year history to record a shutout.

"I do well with money in my back pocket," Davis said. "Because if I ever get hungry, I know I can get something to eat."

Davis said she was nervous before the game, but relaxed in the first inning when Jared Sprague-Lott crushed a three-run homer to left field. Davis did not yield a hit until the third inning. She needed just 70 pitches, 15 fewer than the Little League limit. Manager Alex Rice called it "The Mo Show."

Davis capped the victory by striking out the final three batters. It was her second straight shutout, and she has pitched 12 straight scoreless innings.

"She definitely had her game today," catcher Scott Bandura said. "She was pounding the strike zone and pitched with good velocity."

The fans behind Taney's dugout stood and cheered after Davis earned the first out of the final inning. They remained standing the rest of the way, chanting, "Mo-nay, Mo-nay, Mo-nay." Davis said she was nervous that she would walk the last batter after falling behind in the count.

"But then I just threw the pitch and I saw him swing and miss," she said. "That felt really good."

For the second straight game, the Dragons did not commit an error. Second baseman Jahli Hendricks ran into the outfield grass in the first inning and dived backward to make a catch. Kai Cummings glided to his right to chase down a second-inning line drive in the left-centerfield gap. Sprague-Lott, the shortstop, and third baseman Jack Rice smoothly snagged grounders in the third inning.

"We put it in our minds that we can do our best and help her no matter what," said Zion Spearman, who played both right and left field. "If we give up runs, we can just get it back with our bats. But, we put it in our minds that we can do well."

Gov. Corbett arrived in Williamsport on Friday morning and wore a navy Taney hat and shirt to the game. He said Davis eventually could pitch in the major leagues. She has said that she hopes to attend Connecticut on a basketball scholarship and play pro basketball in the WNBA.

"It's very crazy. I didn't even expect that," Davis said of the governor's words. "But if I do stay with baseball, hopefully, I can be a professional pitcher."

In the first inning, two of the first three Dragons batters reached base, bringing up Sprague-Lott with one out. He fouled off two pitches and smashed the sixth pitch he saw to left field. Sprague-Lott said his homer relaxed him, just as it did Davis.

"I just wanted to help Mo'ne out," Sprague-Lott said. "I knew she was going to do well, but she needed a couple of runs. And as soon as it went out, I was very excited."

His teammates hurried out of the third-base dugout as the ball landed in the bushes behind the fence. They surrounded home plate and waited to welcome Sprague-Lott. He cruised around third base and slowed as he neared the mob.

Sprague-Lott stomped both feet on home plate. Philadelphia had finally arrived in Williamsport. And it was with authority.


INSIDE

Taney's day in the sun

Snapshots from the Series. A3.

Dominant on Twitter

Mo'ne Davis' performance is the tweet of the town. A3.

Tuning in at City Hall

More than a hundred fans cheer on Taney. A3.

'Not just about me'

Davis spreads the credit. Sports, C1.


mbreen@phillynews.com

@matt_breen

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