August 23, 2014 |
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - The tarp had finally come off the infield at Howard J. Lamade Stadium on Thursday night, and the Taney Dragons were taking a belated session of fielding practice. Manager Alex Rice tossed a baseball in the air and swung. He made contact, and the ball sailed into the outfield, over the head of the waiting Taney player, and past the fence. The crowd cheered. It was a light moment, and one of many. Starting pitcher Erik Lipson danced in front of the dugout.
August 22, 2014
WHILE the nation has embraced the Taney Dragons as an overnight sensation, we know better. This team is really 20 years in the making. It's the result of efforts by generations of parents and coaches committed to the importance of teamwork, as opposed to cutthroat competition, and to the idea that anyone who wants to play can get a chance to play. Even girls. When the league was founded in 1994, about 250 kids participated. Most of them came from a mile radius around the Markward Recreation Center, near 24th and South streets.
August 22, 2014 |
As she watches Mo'ne Davis mesmerize crowds at the World Series, Maria Pepe is overcome with as much pride as regret. More than 40 years ago, it was Pepe's love of baseball and her willingness to fight for her right to play that forced Little League to allow girls on teams. "It's nice to see that this has come so far for Mo'ne," Pepe said. "She's a beneficiary. " But while she is pleased that in a small way, she helped Taney's teenage pitching goddess ascend to the mound, Pepe still suffers an occasional twinge from an old sports injury.
August 21, 2014 |
The first things customers saw as they walked into the Modell's store on Chestnut Street late Tuesday afternoon were a display counter loaded with blue Taney Dragons T-shirts and the looming presence of Anthony Townsend. "This is crazy, when you've got the security guard selling the shirts," said a chuckling Townsend - the guard. "It's definitely affected the city in a positive way. " The sporting-goods store near 15th Street in Center City received a fresh shipment of 360 T-shirts around 3:30, and general manager Paul Usher said he expected to be sold out before closing.
August 20, 2014 |
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Before the Taney Dragons arrive at their assigned field for practice, Josh Lupacchino is already there, equipment in the back of his golf cart, a Mid-Atlantic team hat on his head. Lupacchino, 30, is one of about three dozen volunteers, most from the Williamsport area, who are assigned to help teams and stick with them throughout their stay in the tourney. The Little League calls them hosts, but their shirts - and the players - call them "uncles. " "Sunup to sundown, we're just here to help them out, whatever they need," Lupacchino said.
August 19, 2014 |
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Scott Bandura sprinted from first to third base and Taney manager Alex Rice sent him home. The speedy catcher from Mount Airy slid safely across the plate with two outs in the sixth inning Sunday night. Philadelphia's Taney Dragons had clawed back from three runs down to tie their Little League World Series game with Pearland, Texas, at Lamade Stadium. And they were not finished. West Philly's Tai Shanahan, the next batter, smacked a deep grounder to the shortstop.
August 12, 2014 |
BRISTOL, Conn. - Gloves flew into the air after the final out. The Taney Dragons jumped up and down, pumped their fists and formed a dog pile between the mound and home plate. The joy was justified. The 12- and 13-year-olds are going where no team from Philadelphia has gone before: to Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series. The state champions from Center City captured the Mid-Atlantic Regional Little League championship Sunday with an 8-0 thumping of Newark (Del.)
August 7, 2014 |
BRISTOL, Conn. - For the first two games of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Little League tournament, the Taney Dragons looked invincible. That ended Tuesday night when the state champions from Center City lost, 5-3, to N.Y. state champ Colonie, at Breen Field. After blowout victories in its first two games, Taney had already clinched a spot in Friday's regional semifinals. Now, Taney manager Alex Rice is focused on helping his players keep things in perspective. They will get a chance to get back on track Wednesday at 5 p.m. against winless Northwest Washington, the D.C. champ.
August 6, 2014 |
BRISTOL, Conn. - Since Mo'ne Davis arrived in Bristol for the Mid-Atlantic Regional, only Little League rules have been able to stop the Taney star. One day after Davis shut down Newark (Del.) National on the mound to help the Dragons improve to 2-0, she had hoped to visit the University of Connecticut on Monday. The 13-year-old from South Philadelphia is not just a baseball star. She views herself as a basketball player and hopes to play for a college such as powerhouse UConn. But the off-day plans had to be put on hold.