WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Mo’ne Davis was on her game.
The Taney Dragons' it-girl wasn’t thrown off by all of the attention she’s received this week. Playing in front of more than 15,600 fans clearly didn’t weigh on her.
Instead, Davis backed up everything that’s been said and written, powering her team to a 4-0 win over South Nashville in the Dragons' first game of the Little League World Series.
But while Davis was strong on the mound, her Dragons teammates showed why the whole team has been so dominant this season. When an opponent did make contact with one of Davis' pitches, her outfielders were there to snag the ball. The team as a whole, perhaps, was at its best on defense.
An early offensive outburst -- on top of Davis’ lights-out pitching -- was all the Dragons needed to start the tournament 1-0.
All throughout the week, Taney’s coaches and manager have insisted the team would be loose and confident for Friday’s first game. That the kids weren't feeling the pressure and, instead, were just having fun.
Seems they were absolutely right.
On the Mo’ne
Davis lived up to the hype on the mound, throwing her second shutout in as many games. She threw strikes effortlessly, her command far superior to opposing pitcher Blake Money.
Batting second in the lineup, however, Davis didn’t have the best afternoon at the plate. She went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and a flyout.
Of course, as mentioned above, she impressed on the mound. Her prowess wasn’t lost on Tom Corbett, either -- the Governor, dressed head-to-toe in Taney gear, had nothing but praise for the home-state pitcher.
At the plate
Jared Sprague-Lott stole the show early with a first-inning three-run home run.
And before you think Little League is all about friendly competition -- or that Nashville is all about southern hospitality -- when Sprague-Lott next came up to bat in the third inning, he was hit by the first pitch he faced from Money. The Dragons, it should be noted, had two outs and no one on base at the time.
In the field
Taney was very strong in the field, especially early. First, Jahli Hendricks made a leaping catch on a fly ball to right to end the first inning that kept the Dragons' early lead. In the third inning, centerfielder Robert Hassell III made a running catch deep to right that was followed immediately by an equally impressive catch by right fielder Kai Cummings.
Taney next plays Sunday night at 7 p.m. against the winner of Friday night’s Southwest-New England matchup.