Taney fever started simmering early in South Williamsport Wednesday.
Fans from Philadelphia and beyond started filing into Lamade Stadium several hours before the team’s 7:30 p.m. match-up against Mountain Ridge Little League out of Las Vegas.
The Dragons’ local – and national star – has risen fast after two straight World Series victories.
If they win tonight, it’ll skyrocket.
“There’s not a whole lot to cheer about in Philly over the last 47 years since I’ve been there,” said Jim Adamski, who drove up from Deptford, New Jersey. “So when we find something to cheer for, we really go nuts.”
Wednesday night’s match-up may be Taney’s toughest. Mountain Ridge, the only other undefeated U.S. team at this point, bashed its first two opponents.
The team won its first game 12-2 and its second 13-2.
Taney fans will be looking to Mo’ne Davis, the team’s ace pitcher, to quiet Mountain Ridge’s bats.
Davis, who recently became the first-ever Little Leaguer to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, threw a two-hit shutout during the team’s first game in the series.
“I doubt Mo’Ne will be able to throw a shutout, but I think our bats will come alive and keep up with Nevada and I think we’ll come out on top,” said James Waddington, who coaches Taney’s 10-and-under team.
But, he added, he’ll be happy win or lose.
“I saw a billboard in Philadelphia that said, ‘Make us proud,’ but it’s too late. These kids have already made us proud. So this is just icing on the cake,” he said.
Taney can technically afford to lose tonight’s game. Each of the 16 teams that reached the World Series stage have two loses to burn before they’re out.
If Taney can avoid losing twice, the team will play in Saturday’s U.S. Championship game.
If they win that, they’ll play in the World Series Championship game against the best international team.