In its first two victories at the Little League World Series, Jackie Robinson West's power hitting stole the show.
On Tuesday, JRW's pitching and defense carried the day. West turned a pair of double plays in topping Pearland, Texas, 6-1 on Tuesday in an elimination game in Williamsport, Pa. Josh Houston pitched five innings and gave up just one run for the Chicago team.
Jackie Robinson West next plays Thursday; its opponent will be the loser of Wednesday's matchup between Las Vegas and Philadelphia. If JRW wins Thursday, it will advance to the U.S. championship game Saturday.
West jumped on Pearland in the first inning. Pierce Jones came home on a single from Marquis Jackson to open the scoring. Jackson eventually scored on an overthrow on a play at third base, and Darion Radcliff crossed home plate when Josh Houston hit into a fielder's choice.
Strangely enough, there was even a do-over Tuesday. Jones appeared to hit a ball into fair territory with the bottom of the bat, but it was called foul. After the umpires talked it over, they ruled the call a mistake and started Jones' at-bat from scratch.
While that was unusual, what was not was Jackie Robinson West survived to play another day.
JRW also has some big fans—literally and figuratively—on the Bears. Some of the pros spoke to RedEye about the youngsters' run in Williamsport and their own baseball experience growing up.
C.J. Wilson, cornerback
"That's always a good thing when you can make people recognize your community and make something positive out of it. I'm proud of 'em, man."
Jermon Bushrod, offensive linemen
"I used to play baseball and it was always a dream to make it there [to Williamsport]. It was my passion growing up until high school, when I started to focus on football. I think it's pretty awesome; best of luck to those young men and go make memories."
David Bass, defensive lineman
"First and foremost, I'm proud. What they're doing for the city itself is big, taking everybody's mindset off all the negativity that's going on Chicago itself. Best wishes to them. They came this far, so they'd might as well bring home everything."
"I was a first baseman [growing up]; I believe I was good. My mom always said I was better at baseball than football or basketball. However, it was too patient for me and as I got older I wanted something that was a little more action, so I kind of dropped that."
Josh Morgan, wide receiver
"That's an amazing story. You don't see stuff like that happen often. It seems like they all have an intensity level, each one of them. All of them seem so talented; I've never seen anything like that on that level. You could tell they love the game and are good at what they do. It's like 'Wow, I'm watching a major league game.' It's fun to watch."
Robbie Gould, kicker
"I did not [play baseball growing up], but the Little League World Series is a half an hour from my hometown [of Jersey Shore, Pa.], so we used to go there all the time when we were kids. My hometown was in it about three years ago, so to see Chicago go there and see how well they're doing … it's great that they represent the city of Chicago and it's been awesome to see them on TV and follow them."
UP NEXT: Elimination game
Jackie Robinson West vs. Las Vegas or Philadelphia
6:30 p.m. Thursday, ESPN
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