CINCINNATI -- All eyes were back on Mo'ne Davis on Friday at the P&G Cincinnati Urban Youth Academy as she took the mound to lead the Philadelphia Phillies Junior RBI team out of elimination and into the Junior Division Championship Game at the 25th Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series.
Davis tossed a solid five innings, retiring eight of the first 12 hitters she faced and allowed just one run on five hits in the game against Arizona (1-4) that resulted in a thrilling 5-4 victory for the Phillies (4-1). The 16-year-old has pitched 9 1/3 innings in total in the RBI World Series, allowing just two earned runs to finish with a 1.40 ERA. Due to Pitch Smart Regulations, Davis won't be on the mound in Saturday's title matchup against the Chicago White Sox RBI team, but manager Steve Bandura hinted that she may make an appearance as a designated hitter or runner.
"It was a really exciting game," Davis said. "Arizona was tough. Neither team gave up. I just tried to throw strikes and let our defense make the plays, and they did. It was a lot of fun."
Fans can stream Saturday's Junior Division Championship Game at 8 a.m. ET on MLB.com, followed by the Senior Division Championship Game between Paterson (N.J.) and Nobu Yamauchi (Hilo, Hawaii) at 11:30 a.m.
If the Junior Division matchup sounds familiar, that's because it is. Six of the players from Chicago's Junior RBI team played on the 2014 Jackie Robinson West Little League team and seven of the players from the Phillies Junior RBI team played for the Taney Dragons in the same year. On Aug. 21, 2014, Davis and Philadelphia's Taney Youth Association Little League lost in the Little League World Series United States Semifinal to that Jackie Robinson West squad, 6-5.
Fast-forward to the 2017 RBI World Series, and these two teams were put head-to-head on Day 1 of pool play at Great American Ball Park. Once again, Chicago came out victorious in a walk-off win against the Phillies, 4-3.
"Have to play clean in order to compete with these guys, they're that good," said Bandura.
Chicago enters Saturday's Championship Game 5-0 in tournament play after posting a 9-1 victory over the Houston Astros Junior RBI squad in the semifinals on Friday.
"We all have assigned jobs that everyone has to do during the game and it's just teamwork to get us through, get us to the title," said Chicago's Marquis Jackson.
As for the Phillies, they'll be relying on hard work, preparation and team camaraderie to get them a victory.
"I've played with those guys since I was seven, so I've grown up with them. I've known them my whole life and it's just once I first started playing it was a little rough, but then we became one big family," said Davis of her team.
So what can we expect from this Phillies team tomorrow? Coach Bandura emphasized their fundamental skills, ability to not get too down and their humble demeanor as team strengths.
"Winning isn't everything, but wanting to is," said Bandora of the team's motto.