Taney Dragons get big league salute in Philadelphia
LLWS club, including star pitcher Mo'ne Davis, honored on field, throw first pitches
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies rolled out the red carpet for the Taney Dragons on Wednesday night.
After a parade down Broad Street, the Dragons were showered with gifts and admiration at Citizens Bank Park. Taney has been the toast of the town this summer with a captivating run to the Little League World Series, becoming the first team from Philadelphia to reach the tournament.
The Dragons were led into the stadium by the Phanatic and the University of Pennsylvania marching band. The team descended from the center-field stands and walked down the red carpet, where the Phillies greeted them.
A video tribute followed as the Dragons were introduced to the crowd from a stage on the infield. After speeches by Mayor Michael Nutter, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and Taney manager Alex Rice, the Dragons took a lap around the field, shaking hands with adoring fans.
The Dragons then threw out first pitches as a team, which were caught by Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, A.J. Burnett, Marlon Byrd, Ben Revere, Domonic Brown, Cody Asche, John Mayberry Jr. and Jonathan Papelbon.
"It was really cool," said Mo'ne Davis, the star pitcher who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated last week. She threw her first pitch to Papelbon.
In addition, the Phillies presented all 12 Dragons with personalized Phillies jerseys.
"It was pretty awesome, just really amazing," said Zion Spearman.
"This team won our hearts," public address announcer Dan Baker told the crowd. "Tonight, we would like to say thanks for the excitement and the fun."