Mo’ne Davis, star pitcher for the Taney Dragons of Philadelphia and a national sensation for her dominant performance in this year’s Little League World Series (LLWS), suffered her first loss of the tournament as the Dragons fell to Nevada, 8-1, Wednesday in Williamsport, Pa.
With the loss, Davis and the Dragons must face Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West on Thursday; the winner will claim the final berth in the U.S. Championship game on Aug. 23. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Davis didn’t allow a run in her first two starts of the tournament, but got off to a rough start against Nevada’s potent offense. After surrendering a leadoff single, Davis then served up an RBI double to give Nevada a quick 1-0 lead. She settled in and picked up three strikeouts to end the inning, but gave up a two-run home run in the second inning to give Nevada a 3-0 lead.
Philadelphia center fielder Kai Cummings, left, runs under a fly ball, that second baseman Jahli Hendricks (8) can’t get to, hit by Las Vegas’ Andrew Matulich in the sixth inning of a United States semi-final baseball game at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Backing up on the play is right fielder Mo’ne Davis, center. Las Vegas won 8-1. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Davis struck out three more batters, but was pulled from the mound in the third inning after her 55th pitch in order to preserve her pitching eligibility should the Dragons reach the U.S. Championship. Little League World Series rules require any pitcher throwing between 51 and 55 pitches to rest three days before returning to the mound. Any pitcher dealing 66 or more pitches must rest for four days. Davis stayed in the game, however, moving to shortstop.
Davis nearly had a chance to help her own cause in the fourth inning, after Taney’s Joe Richardson and Mike Rice both got big hits to get her to the plate with two on base and no outs. She drew a walk on a low fourth ball that was dropped by Nevada’s catcher, allowing Richardson to dash home for the Dragons’ first and only score of the game.
Tai Shanahan then laid a perfect bunt hit to load the bases, but Nevada used a sweet double play to end the inning without further damage. Nevada put the game away in the top of the sixth inning, scoring five runs to extend their lead to 8-1.