Big city matchup: Taney vs. Chicago in U.S. semifinal

Taney's #6, Erik Lipson sqqueezes through a hole in the outfield fence to get to the batting cages prior to Thursday night's game. Taney Little League plays Jackie Robinson West in an elimination game on Thursday August 21, 2014. Loser goes home. 08/21/2014 ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )
Taney's #6, Erik Lipson sqqueezes through a hole in the outfield fence to get to the batting cages prior to Thursday night's game. Taney Little League plays Jackie Robinson West in an elimination game on Thursday August 21, 2014. Loser goes home. 08/21/2014 ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )
Posted: August 23, 2014

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - It's impossible not to draw the parallels.

When the Taney Dragons take the field Thursday night at 8:05 in an elimination game of the Little League World Series on ESPN, they will see an opponent in Jackie Robinson West Little League who looks a lot like themselves.

Just as Philadelphia has pulled together to support Center City-based Taney, the city of Chicago has rallied around its Jackie Robinson West Little League. But the similarities go beyond their inner-city roots.

Both teams rallied this week for improbable, come-from-behind victories. Each team has lost only once, to powerful Mountain Ridge Little League of Las Vegas.

"I've been looking forward to playing Chicago since we got here," Taney manager Alex Rice said. "The product that is going to be on the field, and the potential of what they can find in the inner-city, you're going to see top-notch, high-quality baseball."

Taney is likely to pitch Jared Sprague-Lott, who started Sunday. He will have to be wary of several Chicago sluggers. Jackie Robinson West has scored 21 runs in its three Little League World Series wins.

Pierce Jones may be the most dangerous. He has four home runs in 11 World Series at bats. He was hit in the hand by a pitch on Tuesday, but is expected to play.

Joshua Huston and Darion Radcliff are both 6-for-11. They've combined to drive in seven runs, and they both had RBIs in the fifth inning Tuesday as Chicago rallied to beat Rhode Island, 8-7.

tmcmanus@philly.com

@ByTimMcManus

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