The Taney Dragons, the Philadelphia feel-good baseball story of the summer, have a day off today as they prepare for their semi-final game against the New York champs tomorrow morning at 11am.
They finished the pool play of the Mid-Atlantic regional tournament in grand style last night, beating the D.C. champs 7-1. The Dragons were 3-1 in pool play, good for a #2 ranking in the Mid-Atlantic region. The only team better than the Dragons was the powerhouse from Tom's River, who finished 4-0 and is the #1 seed.
Through the randomness of scheduling, neither team faced the other in pool play. The earliest they can meet would be Sunday in the finals if both teams win their semi-finals game.
Although Tom's River had a better record, they had the same run differential as the Dragons in regional play:
The team that looks the weakest based on these four games, the New York champs, is the team the Dragons will play tomorrow. Oddly enough, it's also the team that sent the Dragons to their only loss, a 5-3 loss on Tuesday. Tom's River plays Delaware, a team that gave Tom's River a run for its money on Wednesday. Delaware came from behind to lead in the top of the sixth inning, but Tom's River eeked it out in the bottom of the sixth, winning 11-10.
Both games will be televised on ESPN. The Taney/NY game will be at 11am. The Tom's River/DE game will be at 3pm. The winners of both games play each other Sunday night at 6pm in a game televised on ESPN2. The winner of that game goes onto the Little League World Series in Williamsport.
Stepping back from the games themselves, the Dragons' Mo'ne Davis and Tom's River's Kayla Roncin continue to get more and more attention for their game and for their being the only two girls in the entire tournament (not just the regionals).
Today, the New York times profiles both girls in a great piece. Interestingly, although the Dodgers are Davis' favorite team, her favorite player is Chase Utley. Naturally.
If Taney or Tom's River reaches the World Series, Davis or Roncin will be the first girl to play in the Little League World Series in 10 years and only the 17th ever. Here's hoping their presence (hopefully Davis' presence) inspires more and more girls to stay in baseball and get to the World Series in the future.