South Williamsport, Pa. — Not even Mo’ne Davis could stop the hard-hitting bunch from Nevada, although the team from Pennsylvania held their own for most of the night.
Dallan Cave and Brennan Holligan each homered to help Nevada reach the United States final in the Little League World Series with an 8-1 win over Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
Nevada, which had won by a combined score of 25-4 over its first two games, will face today’s semifinal winner between Pennsylvania and Illinois in the title game on Saturday.
Davis, who became the youngest athlete and first little-league ball player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, allowed three runs on six hits with six strikeouts over 2 1/3 innings.
She pitched a shutout in Pennsylvania’s first game, then the Philadelphia- based team rallied in the final inning against Texas to set up the matchup against Nevada.
Zach Hare opened the first with bloop single to shallow center, then Austin Kryszczuk ripped a triple to right center that made it 1-0 Nevada.
Davis settled in, however, stranding the runner at third by striking out the side.
Scott Bandura singled and Jared Sprague-Lott walked two batters later as Pennsylvania put some pressure on Nevada in the home first. Zion Spearman grounded into a fielder’s choice for the second out and Jack Rice flied out to deep right on a diving catch at the warning track by Alex Barker to end the inning.
Drew Laspaluto led off the second with a single to center, then Cave followed a popout from Barker with a two-run shot to left center that pushed Nevada’s lead to 3-0. After back-to-back singles, Davis showed her toughness with timely strikeouts to Kryszczuk and Holligan.
Davis walked opposing starter Brad Stone to begin the third and struck out Dillion Jones in what would be the final batter she would face. Davis was removed from the game after 55 pitches in a precautionary measure so that she will be eligible to pitch again on Saturday.
Nevada continued to threaten in the inning, but two stellar defensive plays kept it a three-run game. Tai Shanahan, the hero in Philadelphia’s win over Texas, gunned down Stone with a high-arching throw to the plate and Bandura threw out Barker attempting to steal second to end the frame.
Spearman reached on an infield single to begin the fourth before Rice doubled down the third-base line. As Davis drew a walk, Stone uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Spearman to cross home for Pennsylvania’s first run. Shanahan greeted Josh Zuehlsdorff with a well-placed bunt down the third-base line that loaded the bases. Zuehlsdorff wouldn’t stay long, as Kryszczuk was called upon to work out of the jam.
After striking out Erik Lipson for the first out, Kryszczuk got Eli Simon to line into an inning-ending double play.
Pennsylvania put runners on first and third in the fifth, but Kryszczuk struck out a pair following a fielder’s choice groundout to keep Nevada in front by two.
Holligan highlighted a five-run sixth with a two-run homer to right that gave Nevada a comfortable seven-run lead.
Earlier, Jae Yeong Hwang hit a go-ahead homer in the top of the sixth to give South Korea a 4-2 win over Japan, advancing South Korea to the International final of the Little League World Series.
Japan will play Mexico today. The winner of that game will face South Korea in the title game on Saturday.