SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Mo’ne Davis didn’t have her best stuff when she and her Philadelphia teammates needed it most, and Las Vegas took advantage.
Dallan Cave and Brennan Holligan hit two-run homers, lefty reliever Austin Kryszczuk got out of two big jams, and Las Vegas beat Philadelphia and its star pitcher 8-1 in the Little League World Series on Wednesday night.
Davis, just the 18th girl to play in the Little League World Series and the only one to win a game on the mound, took the loss.
“Mo’ne didn’t have her ‘A’ game today,” Philly manager Alex Rice said. “At this point, we’re playing to get to Saturday.”
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The victory puts Las Vegas in Saturday’s U.S. title game and sends Philadelphia into an elimination game on Thursday night against Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West in a matchup of inner-city teams. The Great Lakes champion beat Pearland, Texas, 6-1 on Tuesday night in an elimination game.
“I think it’s terrific,” Rice said. “I’ve been looking forward to playing Chicago since we got here.”
Davis, the darling of the sports world with her amazing success and poise, was both masterful and ordinary on a night made short because of pitch-count rules.
She allowed three runs and six hits and struck out six in 21/3 innings before leaving after 55 pitches. That makes her eligible to pitch again in the U.S. championship game on Saturday.
Davis played first after her stint on the mound and was switched to right field in the top of the sixth, but she dazzled her opponents more than once on the mound with off-speed deliveries and tantalizing pitches just off the plate.
“She’s very crafty,” said Kryszczuk, who picked up the victory. “She’s a great pitcher. That triple in the first was huge and then she settled down. Great job by us to get this victory.”
The grassy hill beyond the outfield fences at Howard J. Lamade Stadium was jammed with so many cheering fans that it looked like the bleacher section at any ballpark as 34,128 fans craned to see every pitch. And they had an effect on Las Vegas, an afterthought at best to many before the game.
“The crowd got to us at times. It was hard to communicate,” Las Vegas manager Ashton Cave said. “That’s a big weight to carry on a 13-year-old’s shoulders what goes on publicly. They definitely deserve the attention that they get, but we have the first Nevada team in history in 75 years to make it to this point.”
South Korea beat Japan 4-2 to advance to the International Championship game. Japan will face Mexico on Thursday to determine South Korea’s opponent.