As the dog days of summer wear on and school begins, there is a great story happening in Williamsport, Pa.
The little leaguers of Mountain Ridge from Las Vegas are tearing the cover off the ball and making mincemeat of the competition at the Little League World Series.
Mountain Ridge became the first-ever Little League team from the Nevada to qualify for the World Series about two weeks ago when the blitzed the West Regional.
Upon qualifying for the game’s biggest stage, all the little leaguers were given new bats, cleats and other equipment in addition to being flown — for free — to Williamsport.
But the Nevada boys have captured the state’s attention with their play. Mountain Ridge has blown away its two opponents — Rapid City, S.D. (Midwest) and Chicago, Ill. (Great Lakes) — by a combined score of 25-4.
Now they have a showdown today at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN with the tournament’s media darling in Mo’Ne Davis and her Mid-Atlantic squad from Philadelphia. Davis is a hard-throwing girl who has captured the national media’s attention in the regional tournament and with an opening-round shutout over Nashville, Tenn. (Southeast).
Today’s winner will play for the U.S. Championship on Saturday.
But the tournament’s best player calls Nevada home. Austin Kryszczuk has belted two more home runs (he has three total) and is expected to start opposite Davis on the mound. Bradley Stone, meanwhile, crushed a grand slam in the first inning against Great Lakes to begin Sunday’s 13-2 rout.
Starting pitcher Brennan Holligan tossed a two-hit gem in silencing a Chicago team that scored 12 runs in their opener.
Speaking of the Sunday’s game, KOLO 8 News dropped the ball in an unexplainable fashion.
The game was broadcast nationally on ABC, but many viewers in the Reno market were shutout by KOLO 8 News, who moved the game to over-the-air channel 8.2 and channel 186 on Charter.
Viewers who do not have Charter were out of luck and not pleased.
“Thanks for nothing KOLO. The first Nevada team to make it to the (Little League) World Series and you decide to show “Moms Everyday?” said one Facebook poster.
There is no reasonable explanation for KOLO 8 News to drop the game. Whoever made that decision owes an apology to the viewers who are supporting the kids from Nevada, regardless of the fact they hail from the south.
Despite the programming slight, the boys from Mountain Ridge have captured this state’s heart, while the national media has yet to catch on. But with one more win, they will be on the brink of history. Two more victories will have them in the World Series title game and third win see Nevada atop the baseball world.
Steve Puterski is the sports editor for the Lahontan Valley News and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.