Philadelphia Phillies RBI has won the Junior Baseball Division Championship of the 2017 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series, earning their city's second title in the 25-year history of the international tournament. Philadelphia Phillies RBI defeated defending junior division champions Chicago White Sox RBI in a tightly-contested 8-6
Philadelphia Phillies RBI has won the Junior Baseball Division Championship of the 2017 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series, earning their city's second title in the 25-year history of the international tournament. Philadelphia Phillies RBI defeated defending junior division champions Chicago White Sox RBI in a tightly-contested 8-6 game today at the P&G Cincinnati MLB Youth Academy. It is the first loss for Chicago's junior division team in two years after entering today's championship game with a 5-0 record (finished 2016 RBI World Series 6-0). Philadelphia Phillies RBI finished the tournament with a 5-1 record. This is Philadelphia's first title in the Junior Division as the city won the Senior Division Championship in 2007.
Today's championship contest was a rematch of sorts as several members of each team represented the Taney Dragons out of Philadelphia and Jackie Robinson West out of Chicago in the exciting 2014 Little League World Series. Taney Dragons players on this year's Phillies RBI World Series team included Scott Bandura, Mo'ne Davis, Carter Davis, Jahli Hendricks, Joe Richardson and Jared Sprague-Lott. Members of Jackie Robinson West on this year's White Sox RBI team included Cameron Bufford, Brandon Green, Pierce Jones, Marquis Jackson, Tre Hondras, Ed Howard and Josh Houston.
Philadelphia second baseman Jahli Hendricks was named the Most Valuable Player of the Junior Division Championship Game. The Springside Chestnut Hill student-athlete was at the center of Philadelphia's offensive burts, scoring a run in each of the 1st and 2nd innings and delivering an RBI single in the 5th inning. Defensively, he was superb with five putouts and two assists. Hendricks finished the 2017 RBI World Series with a .389 batting average, a 1.078 OPS, nine runs scored, seven hits (three doubles), two RBI and two SB. The second baseman closes out the championship tournament with a .955 fielding percentage.
The Senior Baseball Division Championship Game between Nobu Yamauchi RBI (out of Hilo, Hawaii) and Paterson (N.J.) Baseball Federation RBI is following this game at the P&G Cincinnati MLB Youth Academy and also will stream LIVE on MLB.com.
The RBI World Series is the international baseball and softball championship tournament of Major League Baseball's RBI program, which is designed to provide young people from underserved and diverse communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball, encourage academic success and teach the value of teamwork. The Cincinnati Reds are hosting the RBI World Series for the second consecutive year. Every baseball team in the 2017 RBI World Series was able to play one game at Great American Ball Park, the home of the Reds. The rest of the games were played at Meinken Park, the P&G Cincinnati MLB Youth Academy, Xavier University's Hayden Field and Withrow High School Field, which was one of the fields renovated as part of the 2015 All-Star Legacy effort between MLB and the Reds.
The RBI program has provided a path for many players to enter the college and professional game. MLB Clubs have drafted over 200 RBI participants throughout the program's 29-year history, and many others have been given the opportunity for higher education through baseball and softball scholarships. There have been more than 75 RBI players selected in the 2013-2017 MLB Drafts. In this year's draft, the Cincinnati Reds drafted both second overall pick Hunter Greene (Venice Boys & Girls Club RBI) and 34-round pick RJ Barnes (Cincinnati Reds RBI). Greene is the second highest selected alumnus of the RBI program (Justin Upton, Norfolk RBI, was selected #1 overall in the 2005 Draft). Barnes, the first player drafted out of both Cincinnati Reds RBI and the P&G Cincinnati MLB Youth Academy, played in the 2017 RBI World Series.
Current Major Leaguers who are alumni of the RBI program include Yovani Gallardo (Seattle Mariners), Chris Iannetta (Arizona Diamondbacks), Nomar Mazara (Texas Rangers), Anthony Rendon (Washington Nationals), CC Sabathia (New York Yankees), Hector Santiago (Minnesota Twins), Steven Souza, Jr. (Tampa Bay Rays), Justin Upton (Detroit Tigers) and Chris Young (Boston Red Sox). Gallardo (Fort Worth RBI -- '03) and Mazara (Dominican Republic RBI -- '11) have each played in the RBI World Series. NBC News senior food analyst and former White House chef Sam Cass is also an RBI World Series alumnus. The RBI program is administered by Major League Baseball and has served approximately 2 million young people since its inception. RBI currently serves approximately 230,000 young men and women in over 300 programs established in approximately 200 cities worldwide. MLB and its Clubs have designated more than $40 million worth of resources to the RBI program, and a