Little League Softball World Series: Rowan goes undefeated in pool play

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 14, 2017

By Mike London

The easy part was on the field for Rowan manager Johnny Meadows, who watched his softball team conclude pool play on Sunday in the Little League World Series with a breezy, 10-0 win against Czech Republic in five innings.

Off the field in Portland, Oregon, it was more challenging for Meadows, who had meetings with ESPN’s Amanda Scarborough, Michele Smith and Holly Rowe. Meadows will be “mic-ed up” for tonight’s game against the Philippines at 10 p.m. EST on ESPNU and will be on his best behavior.

“The ESPN ladies asked me to tell them about our star pitcher and I told them we really didn’t have one,” Meadows said. “They were surprised to hear that, but we’ve got three good ones. All three of them got a win in the regional, and we’re counting on a combination of all three as we move forward in the tournament.”

Kendall Robinson and Karsen Simpson teamed for Sunday’s shutout. Robinson pitched four innings, struck out three and allowed two hits. Simpson pitched the last inning and struck out two. Madelyn VonCanon, who was outstanding in the big game with Delaware, wasn’t needed in the circle on Sunday.

“We threw strikes,” Meadows said. “No walks today and when you don’t walk anyone and you allow only two hits, you’re going to win. If we can keep the walks away, we’re going to do fine.”

Kenadi Sproul had two hits and two RBIs on Sunday and is 7-for-11 in the World Series. Bentli Meadows scored three runs. Brooke Piper had a double and scored twice. Robinson had two hits and scored a run. Allie Burns, Emma Clarke, Cailynn Winford, Meadows, Robinson and VonCanon drove in a run apiece.

“Czech Republic wasn’t a pushover team, by any means, but we hit the ball hard and we got the lead early,” Meadows said.

Rowan was up 2-0 after the first inning and by 7-0 after three and cruised to another victory. Rowan outscored its pool opponents, 47-9. The only close call was a 4-1 win against Delaware, the runner-up team in Rowan’s pool. Czech Republic, the Europe-Africa champion, went 2-2 and will be the No. 3 seed from Rowan’s pool.

The Philippines squad that Rowan takes on in a quarterfinal tonight finished fourth in its pool with a 1-3 record, winning for the first time on Sunday, 2-1, against Puerto Rico.

“The Philippines girls are small in stature, but they’ve got a quality team,” Meadows said.

It’s basically a single-elimination tournament now. The hurdles for Rowan in bracket play figure to be Pool B runner-up Indiana (3-1), Pool B champion Texas (4-0) and Delaware (3-1).

“The girls want to bring a championship home,” Meadows said. “We’ve got a chance.”

Rowan                     232  03   — 10   7    1

Czech Republic     000  00    —  0   2   3