CINCINNATI -- Three years doesn't seem like that long ago when you are an adult. When you're a teenager waiting to settle a score, waiting three years seems like an eternity.
The Philadelphia Phillies RBI club outlasted its Chicago White Sox counterparts, 8-6, in Saturday's Junior Division championship game of the RBI World Series at the Cincinnati Urban Youth Academy. Seven Philadelphia players had a compelling reason to celebrate, the victory serving as a bit of redemption for a loss to many of the same Chicago players during the 2014 Little League World Series.
"We were out there getting revenge," said Philadelphia second baseman Jahli Hendricks, who was named the RBI tournament's Most Valuable Player. "I've been wanting this since 2014. I just knew we would see them again at some point."
Hendricks was among the Taney Dragons players who lost to Chicago's Jackie Robinson West team in the Little League United States semifinal round. It was during that tournament that Mo'ne Davis became a nationally recognized figure while many around the nation found themselves rooting for the Chicago team. Chicago won that game, 6-5, and also defeated Philadephia, 4-3, on Day 1 of pool play at the RBI tournament. The White Sox were the defending Junior Division champions.
"Winning a championship was the motivation today," said Philadelphia catcher Scott Bandura, who reached four times in five plate appearances. "That [2014 loss] just added a humongous amount of intensity."
Intensity was a necessary ingredient for the Phillies, but so was patience. Philadelphia batters walked 11 times, including Jared Sprague-Lott's base on balls with the bases loaded in the second inning.
"Any time you face guys throwing as hard as their guys do, you have to make them throw it over the plate," Phillies manager Steve Bandura said.
Davis had reached her pitch limit during Friday's semifinals, so Philadelphia turned to Carter Davis. He held the powerful White Sox batting order in check until tiring and finally hitting his pitch limit during Chicago's three-run sixth inning.
Sprague-Lott walked three times and singled during his five plate appearances. Brandon Gibbs drove in two runs with a second-inning infield single. Carter Davis drove in two runs and Joe Richardson added an RBI hit. Hendricks walked, singled, scored two runs and stole a base Saturday, and he provided solid defense at second throughout the tournament while hitting .389.
Chicago leadoff hitter Pierce Jones singled, doubled and drove in two runs. Shortstop Ed Howard added an RBI double. Winston Hill and Damon Gladney also drove in runs.