Next up for Taney: Sluggers from Vegas

Taney's #5, Scott Bandura, left, celebrates as he slides home to score the tying run in the bottom of the 6th off of Zion Spearman's triple. It tied the game 6-6. Philadlephia's Taney Little League plays against the 2014 Southwest Region Pearland East Little League on Sunday August 17, 2014 08/17/2014 ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )
Taney's #5, Scott Bandura, left, celebrates as he slides home to score the tying run in the bottom of the 6th off of Zion Spearman's triple. It tied the game 6-6. Philadlephia's Taney Little League plays against the 2014 Southwest Region Pearland East Little League on Sunday August 17, 2014 08/17/2014 ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )
Posted: August 19, 2014

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - The minivan carrying five Mountain Ridge Little League players and its coach pulled to the side of Ballpark Boulevard late Saturday afternoon, allowing Philadelphia's Taney Dragons to walk past on their way to batting practice.

The team from Las Vegas rolled down the van's windows as players stuck out their hands and high-fived the Dragons. The tournament's last two undefeated teams from the United States will meet on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. with the winner going to the U.S. final. But for now, it is friendly.

Taney punched its ticket Sunday with a thrilling 7-6 victory over Pearland, Texas.

Mountain Ridge, the West Regional champion, rolled past Jackie Robinson West from Chicago, 13-2, on Sunday. The team blasted five home runs, including a first-inning grand slam by Brad Stone. Austin Kryszczuk hit two homers. Brennan Holligan struck out six in four innings but will be unavailable for Wednesday's game against Taney.

Mo'ne Davis, the star pitcher of the tournament, is expected to be back on the mound for Taney on Wednesday.

Las Vegas manager Ashton Cave watched Davis pitch on Friday and said she is "phenomenal." His players have played with girls in the past, so they will not underestimate her. He said his team will play its game and "not fall into the trap" of playing the opponent's game.

"We tell them, 'See ball, hit ball. Throw ball, catch ball. Get us outs,' " Cave said. "If you just take care of the fundamentals of the game, everything else will take care of itself."

If Taney wins Wednesday and Saturday, Davis will be eligible to make her third start of the tournament in Sunday's World Series final. If Taney loses Wednesday, it will play again on Thursday, with the winner moving to Saturday's U.S. final.

If Taney lost Sunday, it would have had to win two straight games (including one without Davis) to secure a spot in Wednesday's contest.


 

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